FC Barcelona 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: A giant leap forward

FC Barcelona 2-1 Shakhtar Donetsk: A giant leap forward

Goals from Ferran Torres and Fermin Lopez make it nine points from nine in the Champions League

FC Barcelona have reached the halfway stage of Champions League Group H with a 100 per cent record. First Royal Antwerp, then Porto and now Shakhtar Donetsk have all been seen off to leave the Catalans on excellent course for a place in the last sixteen of the competition.

Barça were far more dominant than the final scoreline might suggest, but despite waltzing into a 2-0 lead, they were never quite able to put the game to bed, and when the Ukrainians sneaked a goal back, we were left with an unexpectedly nervous wait for the final whistle to blow.

The López-Torres show

The youngster everyone has been talking about this week has been Marc Guiu, but today the attention switched to another ‘pearl of La Masia’, Fermín López.

The 20-year-old had already enjoyed the best of the many early chances that came Barça’s way, brilliantly saved by visiting keeper Riznyk, before heading onto the post just before the half hour.

Ferran Torres expertly followed through with the rebound, and although the referee originally adjudged Lopez to have received Gundogan’s pass from an offside position, a VAR review revealed that there was nothing wrong with the move at all and Barça were finally off the mark.



Having had a big hand in the opener, Fermín then scored a goal of his own. And what a goal it was. The roles reversed, with Torres now the provider, wow, he absolutely rocketed the ball goalwards, sending it bounding in off the top corner of the woodwork. Utterly unstoppable. An absolutely scorching piece of red-hot goalscoring!

There was more to come from the youngster, who moments after hitting the post for the second time headed in a thunderous header that was annoyingly chalked off for the narrowest of offsides.

The other half of today’s double act, Ferran Torres, also had a delightfully deft finished cancelled out for same reason.

Late nerves

But every credit has to go to Shakhtar, who rather than speculate were ready to take risks and were eventually rewarded when Heorhii Sudakov got in behind the Barça defence and beat Ter Stegen with a fine finish on 62 minutes.

Incredibly, although Barça had looked utterly in command of this encounter, the Ukrainians had suddenly found themselves within sniffing distance.

Indeed, although a third Barça goal always looked more likely than one at the other end, there were more than a few heart-stopping moments when Shakhtar came alarmingly close to nabbing an equaliser.

But Barça diligently held on to ensure the three points, and now attention turns to the weekend… and Real Madrid!

Antwerp 1-4 Porto

In the other game in Group H, Porto recovered after Alhassan Yusuf put Royal Antwerp into a half.time lead by scoring four times in the second half, with substitute Evanilson claiming a hat-trick and Stephen Eustaquio getting the other. The win moves Porto up to six points, three behind Barça, with Shakthar on three and Antwerp still hunting for their first points.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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