Barca cling on for vital Champions League win, but lose Joao Felix to injury

October 26, 2023
October 26, 2023IANS - Madrid

FC Barcelona made it three wins from their first three matches in its season's Champions League with a 2-1 victory at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in a game that looked under control but then got very complicated, on Wednesday night.

The win, thanks to goals from Ferran Torres and the impressive Fermin Lopez, helps distance fears of a third consecutive failure in the tournament after Barca failed to get out of the group stage in 2021 and 2022.

Xavi Hernandez brought Yamine Lamal, Marcos Alonso and Ronald Araujo back into a side still missing several key players, while Ferran Torres played in a central attacking role.

Shakhtar started brightly, showing confidence and passing the ball brightly but Barca had all of the chances, with Fermin Lopez denied by Dmytro Riznyk after just seven minutes.

The youngster played a massive role in the opening goal, running into space to collect an Ilkay Gundogan pass in the 27th minute, and although his shot hit the stanchion, it rebounded for Ferran Torres to volley home, Xinhua reports.

Torres turned provider nine minutes from halftime, threading a pass for Lopez to turn a defender, before lashing home a swerving shot off the post to double Barca's lead.

Barca ended the first half on top and the feeling of control increased in the 58th minute when Torres had the ball in the net again after a Cancelo pass, only for his effort to be ruled offside.

Heorhii Sudakov then stunned the home side when he got Shakhtar back into the game three minutes later, running onto a pass from Dmytro Kryskiv to beat Marc Andre Ter Stegen on his near post.

Lopez hit the post with another thumping shot and had another goal ruled out for offside, before Barca suffered a potential serious blow when Joao Felix limped off with what looked like a muscle problem to be replaced by 17-year-old Marc Guiu.

All of a sudden, Barca were looked tired and nervous, while Shakhtar began to create more chances: Oleksandr Zubkov had an effort deflected, while Irakli Azarovi and Taras Stepanenko fired just wide in an end to the match that was far too open for the nerves of the home fans.