Barca blow, Dortmund complete Newcastle double as fans protest against UEFA change
Barcelona have crashed 1-0 against Shakhtar Donetsk and have been forced to wait to qualify for their first Champions League last-16 berth in three years.
Danylo Sikan’s looping 40th-minute header into the right corner off Giorgi Gocholeishvili’s cross from the right made the difference on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) in Hamburg, the German venue where Shakhtar are playing their home games this season owing to the war in Ukraine.
The hosts contained Robert Lewandowski and company well and only allowed them a few efforts from a distance which all went off target.
Shakhtar had a late a second goal disallowed because teenager Newerton was narrowly offside before firing into the far corner.
A draw would have been enough for five-time winners Barca to progress to the knock-outs for the first time since the 2020-21 season, but defeat, after wins in the opening three games, leaves them on nine points and under pressure again.
Porto can draw level with victory against bottom side Antwerp in one of the late kick-offs, and Shakhtar are also back in the frame with six points.
In the other early kick-off, Borussia Dortmund claimed an important 2-0 victory against Newcastle United to go top in the tight Group F.
Dortmund pressed from the start, and Germany striker Niklas Fullkrug opened the scoring in the 26th minute off Marcel Sabitzer for his first goal in the elite event.
Joelinton headed wide in Newcastle’s best chance early in the second half, before Julian Brandt wrapped up matters in the 79th.
“We weren’t at our best today,” said Newcastle manager Eddie Howe.
“The intensity and quality of our normal game was missing. We still had our moments and Joelinton’s header is probably the key moment in the game from our perspective. He would back himself to score that if it came in again.”
The game was also subject to a stoppage as fake gold bars and other objects were thrown onto the pitch from the Dortmund fans in the ‘Yellow Wall’. It was a protest against UEFA’s proposed Champions League reforms, with one banner reading ‘You don’t care about the sport – all you care about is money.’
Dortmund top the group with seven points from Paris Saint-Germain, who take six into their date with AC Milan.
Newcastle are in trouble now, having only four points and having, significantly, lost the head-to-head against Dortmund, having been beaten by the Bundesliga side in the reverse fixture as well.