Barcelona edge Shakhtar to stay perfect in Champions League

With goals from Ferran Torres and Fermin Lopez in the first half, Barcelona defeated Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 at home in Champions League Group H action on Wednesday.

Despite missing many important players to injury and suspension, the home team controlled early and often, and they took the lead in the 28th minute on a volleyed rebound from a shot by 20-year-old Lopez that hit the right post.

The goal was disallowed at first because of a possible offside in the buildup, but a video review official later judged that Lopez was in fact onside when he scored from within the area.

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Barca manager Xavi Hernandez called up eight academy players, including Lopez, who is becoming a regular in the first team, due to injuries to Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie de Jong, Jules Koundé, and Pedri and the suspension of midfielder Gavi for a red-card against FC Porto.

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In the 36th minute, he unleashed a tremendous strike that ricocheted against the left post on its way in, causing havoc for Shakhtar and extending Barca's advantage.

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Lopez subsequently wasted two more opportunities to extend Barca's advantage, and the Catalan club had two goals disallowed by VAR due to close offsides calls.

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Midfielder Georgiy Sudakov scored a goal for Shakhtar with a neat finish off a counterattack in the 62nd minute, but Barcelona withstood late pressure to win their third straight game.

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It was a close contest, and we won after a battle. We had a tough time of it. Man of the Match Lopez said to Movistar Plus, "I'm happy for the win and for helping out with a goal."

Xavi stressed the importance of a victory today in order to get closer to qualifying for the next round of play. We took some damage, but we won the game.

The Catalan club now sits atop the standings with nine points, six more than second-placed Porto, who have a game in hand and will play at last-placed Antwerp later on Wednesday. With three points, Shakhtar are now in third position.

On Saturday, Barça will play host to Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the new LaLiga season.

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