Barcelona beats Shakhtar 2-1 for third straight win in group stage of Champions Leaguenewsbhunt


Last Updated: October 26, 2023, 01:00 IST

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona beat Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 on Wednesday to keep a perfect record and stay on course to advance to the knockout rounds of the Champions League after two straight group-stage eliminations.

Ferran Torres and Fermín López scored a goal each in the first half to help Barcelona secure its third straight victory in Group H. The Catalan club reached nine points, six more than both Shakhtar and Porto, which visits winless Antwerp in the other group match later Wednesday.

The victory kept Barcelona unbeaten in 13 matches overall this season, with 10 wins and three draws.

Shakhtar, in the debut of new coach Marino Pušić, was trying to win consecutive Champions League matches for the first time in more than five years.

Torres put Barcelona ahead in the 28th with a volley from inside the area after López’s shot hit the woodwork.

López added to the lead in the 36th after clearing a defender just outside the area and firing a right-footed shot into the top corner. The ball hit the post before finding the net.

Shakhtar, which won at Antwerp in the previous round, pulled one closer with Georgiy Sudakov in a breakaway in the 62nd in what was the first goal conceded by Barcelona in the Champions League this season.

The Catalan club stayed mostly in control through end to secure the win, its fourth in the last five matches in all competitions.

Torres had a goal called off for offside in the 59th, and López had one disallowed for the same reason in the 60th, just after he had hit the post. Torres had scored the winner for Barcelona in its 1-0 win at Porto in the previous round.

Barcelona was without playmaker Gavi because of a suspension. Several regular starters including Robert Lewandowski, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri were out because of injuries. Coach Xavi didn’t want to take any risks ahead of the match against Real Madrid on Saturday in the first “clasico” of the season in the Spanish league.

João Félix had to leave the match in the 75th with an apparent ailment. He was replaced by 17-year-old Marc Guiu, who on Sunday scored seconds into his first-team debut in a 1-0 win against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league.

Barcelona’s İlkay Gündoğan made his 100th UEFA competition appearance.

Pušić was appointed as Shakhtar coach a day before the match to replace Patrick van Leeuwen, who was fired last week after just 12 games in charge.


AP soccer:

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Associated Press)


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