Barcelona reached into UEFA Champions League Round of 16

November 29, 2023
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Barcelona defeated Porto 2-1 in the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time in three seasons, thanks to goals from Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix.

After exiting the competition in the group stage two years in a row, five-time champions Barcelona are back in the last 16 after finishing second with one game remaining.

Barcelona leads Group H with 12 points, three more than Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, who will face off on the final matchday to determine who will join the Spaniards in the knockout stage.

Shakhtar beat Antwerp 1-0 on Tuesday, thanks to an early goal from Mykola Matviyenko, to give themselves a realistic chance of progressing.

Barcelona needs at least a draw against bottom-placed Antwerp in two weeks to secure top spot in the group.

They had to dig deep against a tenacious Porto side that outplayed them in the first half but were frustrated by an inspired performance from Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena, who came on in place of the injured Marc-Andre ter Stegen and made several excellent saves to keep the hosts in the game.

In the 28th minute, Pena made a reflex save to deny Galeno a point-blank strike, and two minutes later, he blocked another effort by the Porto winger, but this time Pepe was well placed inside the box to strike home the rebound and put them ahead.

Barcelona vs Porto | UEFA Champions League | Matchday 5 of 6

Cancelo’s fine curling shot into the top corner after dribbling past Joao Mario gave Barcelona the lead two minutes later.

Porto didn’t give up and nearly took the lead again in the 43rd minute, when Pena made a spectacular one-handed save to palm another Galeno shot from range around the post just before halftime.

However, Cancelo and Felix came out firing in the second half, and Barcelona were transformed, with the Portuguese duo causing havoc on the visitors’ defense.

In the 47th minute, Felix unleashed a thunderous strike from range that crashed against the crossbar, and he linked up well with Cancelo, both of whom began their careers at the Benfica academy, Porto’s rival in Portugal.

Cancelo was outstanding down the left channel, teeing up Felix for a neat first-time finish just beyond the goalkeeper’s reach in the 57th minute to secure the victory.

Barcelona into Champions League Round of 16 after three seasons

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