- Barcelona maintains their unbeaten record by beating Shakhtar Shakhtar to a score of 2-1.
- Ferran Torres’ and Fermin Lopez’s goals were the difference.
- All three group games of the Champions League have been won by Spanish giants
A weakened Barcelona, which was unable to play at full strength in the Champions League Group H due to injury problems, made things difficult. They won 2-1 over Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Ukrainians were missing Robert Lewandowski and Pedri, along with Gavi who was suspended, but the hosts still won. Fermin Lopez scored a spectacular long-range strike and Ferran Torres’ soaring volley to give Barcelona a two-goal advantage at halftime.
Barcelona looked like they were going to cruise into three points but Shakhtar’s fight caused some problems in the 2nd half. Georgiy Sudakov scored a goal as Shakhtar fought for a shocking equaliser. However, Xavi’s team held on to another Champions League victory.
Barcelona found their rhythm quickly despite having to play a weaker side against Shakhtar. Dmytro Rznyk repelled Lopez’s early effort after he danced his way into the box. Joao cancelo saw the Ukrainian goalkeeper comfortably hold his left-footed strike.
Before the 30-minute mark, Barcelona finally broke through Shakhtar’s stubborn defense. Torres’ fierce strike after Lopez’s shot hit the post was the final blow. The hosts, initially ruled offside for a short time, eventually took the lead following a VAR review.
After 37 minutes, Barcelona scored their second goal. It was an incredible strike by the ever-impressive Lopez. The youngster, who had been the driving force behind all of Barcelona’s good work in the first half, fired home from 20 yards a vicious effort that crashed off the inner post and went beyond Riznyk.
Barcelona dominated Shakhtar during the first half. Alex Caparros/Getty Images
The La Liga winners started the second period in the same dominant manner. Joao Feliz tested the visitor’s goalkeeper just three minutes following the break with an angle header. Torres, who thought he doubled Barca’s lead at the hour-mark, was wrongly adjudged offside. This brought Shakhtar much relief.
Shakhtar was given a small ray of light out of the blue. Irakli Azarov threw Georgiy Sudakov a pass after he had dragged Ronaldo Araujo out to the side. The midfielder then produced a calm finish, cutting the deficit.
Lopez nearly restored Barca’s two-goal lead as panic spread around the stadium. His first attempt from outside the box hit the woodwork before his looping header, which was so beautiful it had to be ruled as offside.
Shakhtar tried to equalise as Barcelona became increasingly nervous, but they just barely held out for their third consecutive Champions League victory in the group stages before the El Clasico this weekend.
Barcelona player ratings vs Shakhtar Donetsk (4-3-3)
Fermin Lopez was on a roll in Barca’s strong performance. Alex Caparros/Getty Images
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, GK – 6/10 A spectator for the entire match and never put to test by Shakhtar. Can’t do anything to help Shakhtar score.
Joao Cacelo, RB – 7/10Joao made some powerful runs on the right side of the field and supported Lamine Yamal very well. Sharp and tidy in possession.
Inigo Martin – CB – 6/10Some lovely long diagonal balls to Yamal, showing off his technical abilities. Shakhtar scored a late goal and I lost my composure.
Ronald Araujo, CB – 6/10Dragged wide to allow Shakhtar to score. Sudakov ran into the gap created by his movement. In the second period, he did not have his best performance.
Marcos Alonso, LB – 6/10Broke well beyond Felix on the left flank. Provided a few dangerous crossed that could not be reached by teammate.
Fermin Lopez, CM – 9/10An amazing performance capped off by an incredible goal. The woodwork was hit twice, and he made some great runs past the Barcelona front line. It’s a shame he couldn’t have scored more.
Oriol Romeu, CM – 5/10Composed and strong in the fight. Sudakov was left for dead when he ran for Shakhtar’s goal. His lack of speed is astounding.
Ilkay Gundogan, CM – 6/10Occasionally sloppy with possession but his beautiful lofted shot set up the opening goal.
Lamine Yamal, RW – 7/10 This kid has pure box-office appeal. Even though the end result is lacking, it’s hard to deny that this kid has nimble feet and agility. It’s a joy to watch, and it will only improve.
ST Ferran Torres 8/10 Nice pass for Lopez’s goal, and an excellent finish from Barcelona’s rebound for the first. The line was well led.
Joao Feliz – LW – 4.5/10 –Poor display by the Portuguese. They lost the ball constantly and made things too complicated. The Portuguese were on the margins for the majority of the game.
SUB: Alejandro Balde (71′ for Lopez) – 6/10
Marc Guiu substitutes for Felix (75′) 6/10
SUB: Marc Casado (82′ for Lopez) – N/A
Sub: Andreas Christensen (82’for Martinez).
Subs not used: Pena (GK), Astralaga (GK), Cubarsi, Garrido, Fort.
Xavi – 7/10 –Deal a tough hand due to his long list of absences but selected a Barcelona team capable of barely beating Shakhtar. Xavi’s performance in the Clasico at the weekend is more likely to determine his future.