Loan duo book Barca’s place in Champions League knockouts

Madrid: FC Barcelona came from behind to ensure their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a 2-1 win at home to FC Porto.

Portuguese loan duo Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo scored Barca’s goals after Pepe Aquino had put Porto ahead, reports Xinhua.

While Barca can relax for their last group game. Porto have to avoid defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk to ensure they make the knockout stages.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez restored Ronald Araujo, Raphinha and Jules Kounde to his starting 11, while Inaki Pena continued in goal as Marc-Andre ter Stegen continues to struggle with a back issue.

Raphinha was Barca’s main threat in the opening minutes, forcing a decent save from Diogo Costa in the Porto goal, before setting up Pedri, whose cross was collected by the keeper.

Neither side was in control of the game, with Porto also creating chances and Alan Varela had the ball in the Barca net in the 26th minute, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Two minutes later Varela drew a flying save from Pena with a powerful shot from outside the area, and Pena had to react quickly to save from the same player just two minutes later, only for Pepe Aquino to latch onto the loose ball and score with an angled shot.

Porto’s lead lasted just 90 seconds before Joao Cancelo made it 1-1 after beating two defenders and scoring with a shot across the face of goal.

Costa nearly gifted Barca another goal when he passed straight to Pedri on the edge of the area, but the midfielder’s shot was deflected wide, before Varela again forced Pena into action with a stinging drive.

Barca started the second half positively with Joao Felix rattling the bar from 25 meters, before putting his side ahead as he side-footed home Cancelo’s low cross.

Raphinha almost added a third with an overhead kick, but Francisco Conceicao had a great chance to level in the 93rd minute only to shoot straight at Pena.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid ensured their place in the last 16 with a 3-1 win away to Feyenoord thanks to a comical own goal from Lutsharel Geertruida and a spectacular volley from Mario Hermoso.

Mats Wieffer gave the Dutch side hope with a header 15 minutes from time, but Santiago Gimenez headed into his own goal to make it 3-1 for the Spanish side.


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