Barcelona miss chance to seal Champions League progress

barcelona miss chance to seal champions league progress
barcelona miss chance to seal champions league progress

There is still a chance that Barcelona may have to beat Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League quarterfinals after they were held to a goalless draw by Benfica.

Xavi’s side were unable to break down tenacious opponents, who might have snatched victory at the last minute, in the Group E battle at Camp Nou.

Before an offside flag denied Ronald Araujo, Yusuf Demir struck the post and Benfica goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos made excellent stops to deny Jordi Alba and Frenkie de Jong.

Barca’s Haris Seferovic missed with the goal gaping in stoppage time, but the Catalans remain in second place in the pool – two points clear of their opponents – despite Bayern Munich’s visit to Benfica in two weeks.

Barcelona, making their 20th consecutive appearance in the Champions League, needed a win to advance from their group, and Alba struck early to sting Vlachodimos’ hands.

Even so, Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved Roman Yaremchuk’s thundering header at the opposite end, before Benfica thought they had taken the lead when Nicolas Otamendi’s shot was disallowed after the first corner drifted out of play,

Despite Vlachodimos’s best efforts, Demir’s curling shot sailed just over the bar before the first-half break.

As Barca pressed forward after the break, Xavi introduced Ousmane Dembele, but De Jong’s thunderous header from his cross was well saved.

In the dying minutes of the game, Araujo appeared to have scored the game-winning goal only for the VAR to confirm that it was a flag kick. Seferovic then came close to snatching victory by beating Ter Stegen but shooting wide.

What does it mean?? Barcelona squandered a golden opportunity.

Two points separate Barca and Benfica ahead of this weekend’s last group game of the season. Although Bayern have won all five of their group games, they may still need to win Benfica or at least hope Dynamo lose to Benfica.

Xavi’s team may regret dropping two points after having 14 shots to Benfica’s seven in this encounter.

At the heart of Benfica’s defence, Nicolas Otamendi performed an inspired effort to keep Barcelona at bay.

Eight clearances, five interceptions and three blocks from the Argentina international were the game’s most impressive stats. His last-ditch challenges on Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele were important in his three tackles.

As a result, Barca’s hopes for a positive outcome were dashed. Both of Depay’s shots missed the target, and his 56 touches was second-lowest among the starting outfielders for the home team.

Neither team is off this weekend; Barca travels to Villarreal in LaLiga while Benfica plays Belenenses in the Primeira Liga in an attempt to get back on track.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.