NAPLES        -          Barcelona drew 1-1 with Napoli in the first leg of their round-of-16 tie at the Stadio San Paolo on Tuesday night. French World champion Antoine Griezmann rescued the Blaugrana after the hosts took an early lead in the 30th minute, courtesy of Dries Mertens.

The 28-year old Frenchman scored in the 57th minute to equalise for Barca, after Mertens scored his 121st Napoli goal. In the process, he equalled the record of his club’s all-time top scorer, Marek Hamsik. Barcelona had to play the remaining few minutes with 10 men following Arturo Vidal’s two yellow cards. He was sent off after his angry clash with Napoli defender Mario Rui. As a result, the 32-year old Chilean will miss the return leg. Lionel Messi couldn’t score on his first appearance at the very venue where Argentine legend Diego Maradona reigned supreme for Napoli three decades ago. In the ninth minute, Messi got to a firing start and combined with Frenkie de Jong to create pressure on the hosts, but Gattuso’s side didn’t let that happen.

The 32-year-old Barca legend scored four goals over the weekend when his club won 5-0 over Eibar. The win put the Catalans back to the top of La Liga. However, on Tuesday, he could not add to his tally of 114 Champions League goals. Tuesday’s clash was the Champions League debut for Barcelona’s new coach, Quique Setien, and Napoli’s Gennaro Gattuso. Both managers took charge of their respective teams after the group stage.

Mertens, is now six goals clear of Napoli legend Maradona. Apart from the goal, he caused more issues for Barcelona after he was forced off the pitch by Sergio Busquets’ tackle. The Spaniard will now be suspended for the second leg at the Camp Nou on March 18. As Goal reports, it was an uninspiring performance by the Spanish title holders. They are dreaming of lifting the Champions League trophy for the first time since 2015. Reportedly, before the game, Messi was offered mozzarella cheese and pizza through his team bus’ window by the welcoming Napoli fans.

Meanwhile, Canadian international Alphonso Davies set the tone with lightning-fast runs while Serge Gnabry scored a brace and Robert Lewandowski added a goal in Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win at Chelsea. Davies, a 19-year-old from Edmonton, started at left back for Bayern, and his brilliant counterattack was the catalyst for the team’s third goal. Davies made a lightning run down the left flank and crossed to Lewandowski for a tap-in in the 76th minute, giving Bayern a resounding win in the first leg of the round of 16 showdown.