- Barcelona defeated Porto and advanced to the Champions League knockout stages by displaying incredible resilience in the face of a goal deficit.
- Pepe opened the score with his first Champions League goal, coming just moments after Mehdi Taremi’s attempt was disallowed for an offside foul.
- Joao Cancelo scored an equalizer, ending Porto’s advantage as Joao Felix delivered the winning goal just before the hour mark.
Barcelona defeated Porto and advanced to the Champions League knockout stages by displaying incredible resilience in the face of a goal deficit.
At the thirty-minute mark, Pepe opened the score with his first Champions League goal, coming just moments after Mehdi Taremi’s attempt was disallowed for an offside foul.
Joao Cancelo, a Manchester City loanee, cut inside to curl an equalizer past the outstretched Diogo Costa, ending Porto’s advantage.
Joao Felix delivered the winning goal just before the hour mark, his third European goal of the season, to help his team secure three vital points after the two teams went into halftime on equal terms.
For the first time since the 2020–21 campaign, Barcelona’s victory has guaranteed them a position in the Champions League last 16, although second-place Porto still has work to do to go past the Catalan giants to the knockout stages.
Matchday four saw Barcelona lose unexpectedly to Shakhtar Donetsk, therefore going into this encounter, both teams were tied on nine points.
After a patchy performance in which they won only twice in five games, Barcelona was under pressure to win this vital Champions League match and secure all three points.
Both teams had nine points apiece at the top of Group H, and Barca knew that a win would guarantee qualification.
However, following inconsistent play in recent weeks and a loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in this tournament, Xavi’s team looked lackluster. Porto was expected to open the scoring before right-winger Pepe broke the tie in the thirtyth minute.
In the eighth minute, Raphinha tried to calm any pre-match jitters, but the diving Costa blocked his driving long-range effort.
In the 27th minute, Taremi appeared to have given Porto the lead when he headed in at the far post, but the assistant’s flag prevented him from scoring his second European goal of the year. Porto lost the match by a small margin.
Barcelona was later punished by Pepe, the 26-year-old winger for Porto, for not heeding that warning shot.
Standing in for the injured Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inaki Pena produced a great stop to keep Galeno out of the goal, but Pepe was able to slide in the rebound.
Luckily for the home team, Cancelo‘s drive inside from the left wing and subsequent bending of the ball into the far corner came after just two minutes of deficit.
Once parity was restored, neither team wasted opportunities to lead into halftime. Raphinha missed a close opportunity, while Pena made a fantastic save to deny Alan Varela.
Joao Felix was spurred up by Xavi’s advice at halftime, and he rattled the woodwork a few seconds after the restart.
Felix was not to be deterred and in the 57th minute he scored a goal to celebrate after Cancelo’s deft cut-back set him up.
Raphinha had three chances to seal the victory in the last fifteen minutes, but Costa stopped him three times.
Costa gave it his all to keep his team ahead, but his colleagues were unable to find an equalizer, meaning they ended the day tied on points with Shakhtar, who would face them in the last and sixth group match.
If it had been a different night, Porto might have easily defeated Catalonia by one point. As it stands, they will survive if they draw their last group match at Estadio do Dragao against Shakhtar. The team led by Sergio Conceicao won the rematch 3-1, thus they ought to have enough to advance. But Shakhtar are leading the way now that they have won two straight games. It ought to be a memorable one.