Rakitic scored both of Barcelona's goals in Belarus / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Breaking down BATE Borisov proved to be as tricky as Luis Enrique had suggested before the game. There was never any doubt that his was the better of the two sides in tonight’s Champions League clash in Belarus, but getting the scoreboard to reflect that supremacy was another matter entirely. In end it was substitute Ivan Rakitic who delivered the goods, scoring twice early in the second half to leave the Catalans top of Group E at the halfway stage.

Frustration up front

It may have been a cold night in Belarus, it didn’t take Barça long to warm up the engines. The first fifteen minutes were a monologue in the BATE half, the visitors playing with confidence and generating chance after chance. The loss of Sergi Roberto to injury was an early blow, but Ivan Rakitic stepped in to take his place and the FC Barcelona dominance continued.

[[DES_1]]It was turning those chances into goals where the difficulty lay, with BATE stretching themselves to the limit to defend against an opponent that was letting their technical superiority show. It looked like the home defence had finally been beaten in the 30th minute when Sergio Busquets volleyed from the narrowest of angles, but once again the ball just did not want to go in.

Luis Enrique’s mantra has always been that if you create the chances then the goals will create themselves, but more through bad luck than bad judgement, this was not proving to be the case in Borisov. The half-time whistle blew with Barça still searching for their first goal.

Rakitic to the rescue

All that changed in practically the first move after the break. Rakitic’s right foot sent a trademark long-range strike unstoppably into the top left corner of the BATE net. Barça were finally in front – and the Croatian had bagged his first goal of the season.

It wouldn’t be long before he was celebrating his second. In the 64th minute he received an exquisite assist from Neymar and cheekily tipped it over BATE keeper Chernik to extend his team’s lead.

BATE dearly wanted to get back into things, but to do that they needed the ball and Barça weren’t going to let them have it. It was not until the 77th minute that Ter Stegen was truly called upon for the first time in the game, and that was to make a fairly routine save off Signevich.

The remaining minutes ticked by without major incident. It was clear that there was only one way that this game was heading, and that was towards three points for Barça. Three points that leave them in a strong position at the top of Group E with seven points, three clear of second placed Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma in eight-goal thriller

The other game in Group B was a dramatic affair, and ended with Bayer Leverkusen and AS Roma taking one point each. Bayer stormed into a 2-0 lead thanks to two goals from Chicharito, but before half-time De Rossi had pulled Roma level with a brace of his own. The Italian comeback continued after the break with goals from Pjanic and Falqué to make it 4-2. But that was not the end of the drama. Kampl after 84 minutes and Mehmedi after 86 grabbed late goals for Bayer, and a thrilling evening of football finished 4-4. That's a result that Luis Enrique has confirmed to be a positive one for Barça’s interests.

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