Barcelona’s path to securing their spot in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) knockout stages hit a roadblock as their ten-match winning streak against Ukrainian opponents was halted by Shakhtar Donetsk. The highly anticipated clash saw Barcelona, on the cusp of UCL knockout qualification, faltering right from the start under the management of Xavi. Despite their dominance in controlling the game, Barcelona struggled to find the crucial final pass in the attacking third, impeding their progress.
Shakhtar Donetsk capitalized on Barcelona’s inefficiency and took a surprising lead before halftime. In a swift passing sequence reminiscent of Barcelona’s own style, Giorgi Gocholeishvili delivered an impeccable cross for Danylo Sikan, who expertly headed the ball past the despairing Marc-André ter Stegen. The halftime break seemingly revitalized Barcelona, but their efforts were met with strong resistance from Shakhtar’s defense. Despite several attempts, Barcelona failed to breach Shakhtar’s backline, and their frustration grew.
In their pursuit of an equalizer, Barcelona’s defense was tested as Shakhtar looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Ter Stegen made a crucial save to deny Sikan his second goal of the match. Xavi responded with a quadruple substitution, hoping to inject fresh energy into his team. However, the changes failed to yield the desired results, and Barcelona continued to struggle in the final third. Shakhtar’s steadfast defending, combined with Barcelona’s offensive woes, kept the Spanish giants at bay.
Shakhtar Donetsk nearly extended their lead when 18-year-old talent Newerton unleashed a magnificent shot that found the back of the net. However, his celebration was short-lived as the assistant referee’s flag signaled an offside, denying Shakhtar the opportunity to further bolster their lead. Despite a nail-biting seven minutes of stoppage time, Shakhtar held on to secure a historic victory over Barcelona. This triumph not only ended Barcelona’s winning streak against Ukrainian opponents but also propelled Shakhtar Donetsk back into contention for qualification in the prestigious UEFA Champions League.