November 7 (Reuters) – Danylo Sikan’s powerful header gave Shakhtar Donetsk a 1-0 win over LaLiga champions Barcelona in their Champions League Group H match on Tuesday.
It was a disappointing performance from the Spanish side, who won their first three games in the competition and needed a point with two games left to secure a place in the last 16.
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez made several changes to his starting XI and, despite dominating possession during the game, struggled against a well-organized Shakhtar defense, only managing one shot on goal in the game.
The Ukrainian team playing in Hamburg acted aggressively on the counterattack, and Sikan surprisingly gave them the lead against the five-time European champions in the 40th minute.
The 22-year-old striker dove behind defender Andreas Christensen to meet Giorgi Gocholeishvili’s cross from the right touchline and nodded the ball into the Barca goal just out of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s reach.
After half-time, Gocholeishvili won the ball from defender Marcos Alonso and shot it straight into Ter Stegen’s chest.
In the 52nd minute, the goalkeeper made another brilliant right-foot reflex save to parry a close-range shot from Sikan, with Newerton later having a goal disallowed for offside.
Barca were unable to threaten opposing goalkeeper Dmytro Riznyk until Xavi made four substitutions at once in the 60th minute and Joao Felix and Lamine Yamal came on to give the visitors a much-needed spark.
However, Shakhtar withstood the late pressure and secured the three points.
“The Champions League demands the highest level and today we didn’t give it, we’re leaving angry. Intensity? No, today I would put it down to the game, we didn’t play well. We have to recover and improve.” Xavi told Movistar Plus.
Barcelona remain at the top of Group H with nine points from four games, three ahead of Porto and Shakhtar. The Portuguese have one game left and face Royal Antwerp, who no longer have any points, later on Tuesday.
Reporting by Fernando Kallas. Edited by Christian Radnedge
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