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Barça’s Champions League is smack, bang back on track. After losing both of their first two games in Group E, going into the two with Dynamo Kyiv, they knew they had no option but to take the maximum six points.
It hasn’t been easy, and both games were slender 1-0 wins, but they have done what they had to do. And with Benfica heavily beaten in both games against Bayern, it means the Catalans can now qualify for the last sixteen with a win against the Portuguese side at Camp Nou three weeks from now. That's totally regardless of what might happen when they go to Munich on the final day.
Once again Barça were the better side, but once again the problem was turning that superiority into goals. But when it finally came, it was magical boots of Ansu Fati that did the trick.
First half deadlock
The chances had been flowing thick and fast from the word go. Barça well on top, and Memphis, Ansu Fati and Jordi Alba all came close to getting the blaugrana off to an early lead.
But overpowered as they were early on, the Ukrainians gradually fought their way back into things – Ter Stegen was called into action and Shaparenko started causing all kinds of trouble.
With a little more sharpness up front, either side could have been leading at the break, but instead we were looking at a draw that served neither of their interests.
Ansu to the rescue!
The dynamic of the game was frustratingly consistent. Barça were in control, Dynamo were struggling to get the ball out of their own half, but the real chances just were not coming.
On 63 minutes it looked like Barça had been thrown a lifeline when Ansu Fati came down in the box. But VAR wanted another look adjudged that the Barça player had gone down alone.
But that moment fired up the game. Further boosted by the long-awaited return of Ousmane Dembélé (very impressive on his comeback), Barça were soon in their rightful place – ahead.
Óscar Mingueza whipped in the ball and Ansu Fati was on the end of it to rip in a fabulous finish.
Barça were playing almost all the football. It was no less than they deserved, and finally ended a Champions League goal drought on the road that has lasted over 450 minutes.
For all intents and purposes, the result puts paid to Dynamo’s own chances of making it out of the group. They had no option but to push in search of something in the final minutes, but a combination of Ter Stegen, solid Barça defending and unimpressive finishing ensured we were having none of that.
Barça’s Champions League challenge is well back on course!
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