Barça returns to its old ways in the Champions League

This Tuesday, Barça returned to its old ways in the Champions League. The team led by Xavi Hernández fell in Hamburg against Shakhtar Donetsk, in a match in which the culés were not comfortable at any time and in which a goal from Sikan in the first half was enough to live another fateful night in Europe . With this defeat, the Blaugranas reflect on the bad feelings they showed in San Sebastián against Real Sociedad and reopen a group that they had as a franchise.

The game started in a hurry. Barça had it to put the bad match in Anoeta behind them and Shakhtar also had it in need of a victory that would allow it to get fully into the fight for the round of 16. That made the two teams come out with the knife between their teeth. Xavi made changes. He brought on Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Oriol Romeu, Raphinha and Ferran Torres to form an ultra-offensive 4-3-3 formation that would allow him to press high, suffocate the opponent in the opposite field and take advantage of a grass that was not good, just as the Catalan coach was responsible for emphasizing minutes before the start of the clash.

The bet was clear, but it had risks. Shakhtar already demonstrated at the Lluis Companys that they have the resources to avoid that pressure and on this occasion, at ‘home’, it was not going to be any less. The team led by Marino Pusic did not get nervous and playing from behind ruined Xavi’s plan, which he once again shook his head. And in the first half his team did not have fluidity with the ball in the midfield, they lacked vertigo on the sides to dislodge the Ukrainians and they also lacked freshness to appear by surprise from the second line and generate danger. All of this translated into an alarming lack of ideas that the locals took advantage of to come out on top before the break. Sudakov made a prodigious change of orientation that caught the Catalans on the wrong foot and, after a cross from the unpronounceable Gocholeishvili, Sikan appeared who, with his head, beat Ter Stegen and punished a disoriented Barça.


Riznyk, Gocho, Bondar, Ratiskyy, Matviyenko, Stepanenko (Nazaryna, min. 73), Zubkov, Kryskiv, Sudakov, Newerton (Shved, min. 98) and Sikan (Kelsy, min. 62).




Ter Stegen, Cancelo, Araujo, Christensen, Marcos Alonso (Balde, min. 59), Oriol Romeu (Pedri, min. 59), Gündogan, Gavi (Fermín López, min. 81), Raphinha (Lamine Yamal, min. 59) , Lewandowski and Ferran Torres (Joao Félix, min. 59).

  • Gol:
    1-0: min. 40, Sikan.

  • Referee:
    Irfan Peljto (Bosnia). Admonished Araujo and Newerton.

  • Incidences:
    Match of the fourth day in group H of the Champions League played at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg in front of 49,147 spectators.

After the restart the scenario changed, but it was still not encouraging for Barça. Xavi’s men began to have more of the ball, but they did so without depth and with Shakhtar’s continuous threat on the counterattack. Pusic’s men deployed with many players and warned with two one-on-ones that Ter Stegen saved before The Barcelona coach brought on Balde, Pedri, Lamine Yamal and Joao Félix, a necessary revolution to change the dynamics of a clash that continued uphill and with the stopwatch running at full speed.

The changes suited a Barça capable of entrenching Shakhtar in the final minutes. The midfield composed of Gündogan, Gavi and Pedri improved the circulation of the ball and Joao Félix and Lamine Yamal were more daring in one-on-one from the sides. Between both extremes they dismantled the Ukrainians for the first time and generated the best chances in the final stretch, but sometimes the good work of the rival defense and other times the lack of ideas prevented the tie that would have certified the pass to the second round. It was too late and the culés, who could still have had a greater punishment after a goal disallowed against Newerton, fell by the minimum and reopened a fight that they had on track after having achieved full points in the first three days.

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