Champions League · Group H
|Marin, Fermin Lopez 36’Torres, Ferran 27′||Sudakov, Georgiy 62′|
Barcelona maintained their perfect start in the Champions League group stage with a 2-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk at the Olímpic Lluís Companys on Wednesday night. The hosts scored twice in the first half through Fermin Lopez Marin and Ferran Torres, but had to withstand a late comeback from the visitors, who pulled one back through Georgiy Sudakov in the second half.
The match started with a high tempo, as both teams looked to create chances and assert their dominance. Barcelona had the first clear opportunity in the 12th minute, when Joao Felix found Marcos Alonso on the left flank, who crossed for Lopez Marin to head home from close range. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but the VAR confirmed that the striker was onside and gave Barcelona the lead.
Shakhtar responded well to the setback and tried to test Barcelona’s defense with some quick passes and movements. However, they were unable to find a way past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who made some crucial saves to deny Oleksandr Zubkov and Sudakov. Barcelona doubled their advantage in the 34th minute, when Torres received a pass from Cancelo on the right wing, cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that beat Andriy Pyatov at his near post.
The second half saw Shakhtar increase their intensity and pressure, as they searched for a lifeline. They were rewarded in the 56th minute, when Sudakov scored a stunning goal from outside the box, curling the ball into the top corner with his left foot. The goal gave Shakhtar some hope and momentum, as they continued to push forward and create problems for Barcelona.
Barcelona had to defend with tenacity and discipline, as they faced a barrage of crosses and shots from Shakhtar. They also had to cope with some injuries and substitutions, as Joao Felix, Inigo Martinez and Lopez Marin had to be replaced by Marc Guiu, Andreas Christensen and Marc Casado Torras respectively. Shakhtar also made some changes, bringing on Eguinaldo for Taras Stepanenko, who was injured after a clash with Alejandro Balde.
The final minutes of the match were tense and dramatic, as Shakhtar threw everything they had at Barcelona, while the hosts tried to hold on and counter-attack. Shakhtar had a golden chance to equalize in the 89th minute, when Valerii Bondar headed a corner towards goal, but ter Stegen made a superb save to tip the ball over the bar. Barcelona then wasted a chance to seal the win in stoppage time, when Casado Torras missed an open goal after being set up by Torres.
The final whistle sounded soon after, as Barcelona celebrated their third consecutive win in Group H, which put them on top of the table with nine points. Shakhtar suffered their second defeat in three games, which left them in third place with three points. The two teams will meet again in Ukraine on November 7th for the reverse fixture.