Messi inspires win over Napoli but Barca will need more vs Bayern

Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Napoli at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 8, 2020. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Lionel Messi scored a brilliant solo goal as Barcelona saw off Napoli on Sunday but they are likely to need something even more special from their captain to beat Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals.

Messi’s weaving run and finish came between an early Clement Lenglet header and a Luis Suarez penalty, also won by Messi, as Barca stormed into a 3-0 lead in the first half at Camp Nou.

But Lorenzo Insigne gave Napoli hope just before the interval and an unconvincing second period from Barcelona left them hanging on for a 3-1 win on the night, 4-2 on aggregate.

“A second goal would have given them a feeling of euphoria that can hurt you,” said Barca coach Quique Setien.

“It’s normal to get a little nervous.”

In winning the penalty, Messi took a heavy kick from Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and needed treatment.

“It was a heavy knock,” said Setien. “It will have to be treated but I don’t think there is a problem.”

After finishing five points behind Real Madrid in La Liga, Barca resumed in the Champions League with doubts hanging over the form of the team and the future of their coach.

Setien said on Friday he had not considered resigning but failure in Europe, after a turbulent domestic campaign, would likely take the decision out of his hands.

Victory against Napoli eases the pressure but the performance will not inspire confidence, even with Messi seemingly rejuvenated after three weeks rest.

Napoli, whose own league season only finished last weekend,

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In the bubble, the Phoenix Suns have been perfect so far

Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker (1) celebrates with teammate Mikal Bridges after scoring the game winning basket against the Los Angeles Clippers in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — The last time Devin Booker walked off the court as a winner in four consecutive games, these were the opponents: Hampton, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Notre Dame.

That is, until now.

Booker and the Phoenix Suns — the team that came to the NBA restart at Walt Disney World with the worst record in the Western Conference and the second-worst record of the 22 teams in the field — are perhaps the best story of the bubble.

They’re 4-0 at Disney, breathing real life into playoff hopes that basically were nonexistent when the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 11. It’s the team’s first four-game winning streak since December 2018; Booker missed one of those games, so it’s his first run of four wins in a row since helping Kentucky make its Final Four run in 2015.

“It definitely feels like a tournament, a big AAU tournament, the March Madness tournament,” Phoenix’s Cameron Payne said Friday. “That’s something I never even got a chance to be in, but hey, I’ll take this.”

With Toronto losing to Boston on Friday night, the Suns are the lone team that has yet to lose in the bubble. The Raptors had been 3-0 going into that game against the Celtics.

The Suns started their bubble run with a win over Washington and followed that with victories against three playoff-bound teams — first Dallas, then the Los Angeles Clippers (both of those games being 117-115 finals, the win over the Clippers sealed by a Booker

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Petra Martic and Anett Kontaveit reach Palermo Open semifinals

PALERMO, Italy — Top-seeded Petra Martic and fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit advanced to the semifinals of the first tour-level event in five months at the Palermo Ladies Open on Friday.

Martic beat qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) then Kontaveit defeated Italian teenager Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

The other semifinal will feature Fiona Ferro of France against local favourite Camila Giorgi of Italy.

Ferro eliminated two-time Palermo champion Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1; and Giorgi saved two match points in the second set before rallying past seventh-seeded Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 after nearly three hours.

Martic was coming off a three-set win a day earlier.

“I had two tough matches and my body’s holding up well,” Martic said. “I have no major issues ? just maybe soreness that I’m sure we all have in the first tournament back.

“It feels nice to be reminded of how it feels to be that kind of tired. But all in all I’m happy. I had some good weeks of practice and it’s paying off.”

Kontaveit said she was looking forward to facing Martic.

“I was doing fitness for a long time,” Kontaveit said of the break due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I started playing a lot of tennis 1 1/2 months ago.”

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