Barcelona's Gritty 1-0 Win Over Porto in Champions League Group H
|Jules Koundé of Barcelona (C) talks to Referee Anthony Taylor (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group Stage Group H match between FC Porto and FC Barcelona at Estadio do Dragao on October 4, 2023 in Porto, Portugal(Image-Getty)
In a fiercely contested Champions League Group H clash on Wednesday, Barcelona clinched a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Porto, but the Spanish side had to finish the match with 10 men after Gavi received a second yellow card for a late foul.
Throughout the match, Porto displayed wastefulness in front of goal, although they arguably held the upper hand. Notable missed opportunities in the first half included chances for Mehdi Taremi, Stephen Eustaquio, and Pepe.
The pivotal moment arrived during first-half injury time when substitute Ferran Torres, who had come on for the injured Robert Lewandowski, intercepted a backward pass by Porto's Romario Baro and calmly slotted the ball into the net.
Porto regained control in the second half, with Barcelona defender Jules Kounde making a remarkable last-second clearance to deny Pepe from scoring after a swift counter-attack.
In the 77th minute, Porto believed they had been awarded a penalty for a handball by Barcelona's Joao Cancelo inside the box. However, the referee overturned his decision after reviewing the VAR footage, revealing that Stephen Eustaquio had used his left arm to control the ball in the build-up.
Barcelona managed to withstand Porto's relentless pressure, thanks in part to goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen's heroics in denying strikes from Wendell and Galeno. These crucial saves secured three valuable points for the visitors away from home.
Barcelona's manager, Xavi Hernandez, acknowledged the challenging nature of the match, stating, "We suffered in the end, but this is European football, this is the Champions League. It's hard to win, especially away from home."
With this victory, Barcelona sits at the top of Group H with six points from two games, holding a three-point lead over Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, who defeated Antwerp 3-2 earlier on Wednesday.