05 Dec Barcelona coast past Sporting in final Group D clash
Barcelona completed their Champions League Group D campaign with a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon at the Nou Camp.
With the LaLiga leaders already qualified as group winners and a testing trip to Villarreal ahead on Sunday, coach Ernesto Valverde made the expected wholesale changes as talisman Lionel Messi started on the bench.
After a lacklustre first half, Barcelona broke the deadlock after 59 minutes when Paco Alcacer headed in from a corner and former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu netted an own goal in stoppage time, which left Sporting having to be content with a Europa League spot after finishing behind Juventus.
Tweet of the match
Star man – Paco Alcacer
On another night, Alcacer could have taken home the match ball. His perfectly-executed glancing header finally ended Sporting’s stubborn resistance just before the hour then later saw a low shot deflected just wide – and would have been set for a tap-in during stoppage time had former Barcelona defender Mathieu not got there first.
Moment of the match
After a lacklustre first half, it was always going to take something a bit special to break the deadlock, which Alcacer provided when he rose above the Sporting defence at the near post to flick a corner back over the goalkeeper.
Barcelona have now won their last 15 Champions League games at the Nou Camp, scoring 54 goals and letting in only seven.
Barcelona: Jasper Cillessen 7 (out of 10), Nelson Semedo 6, Gerard Pique 6, Thomas Vermaelen 6, Lucas Digne 6, Ivan Rakitic 6, Andre Gomes 6, Denis Suarez 7, Aleix Vidal 6, Luis Suarez 6, Paco Alcacer 8. Subs: Lionel Messi (for Vidal, 60) 7, Sergio Busquets (for Pique, 64) 6, Paulinho (for Luis Suarez, 74) 6.
Sporting Lisbon: Rui Patricio 7 (out of 10), Cristiano Piccini 7, Sebastian Coates 6, Jeremy Mathieu 6, Bruno Cesar 6, Rodrigo Battaglia 6, William Carvalho 6, Stefan Ristovski 6, Bruno Fernandes 6, Marcos Acuna 6, Alan Ruiz 6. Subs: Bas Dost 6 (for Ruiz, 46), Gelson Martins (for Ristovski, 46) 6, Fabio Coentrao (for Bruno Cesar, 64) 6.
Who’s up next?
Villarreal v Barcelona (LaLiga, December 10)
Boavista v Sporting Lisbon (Primeira Liga, December 9)