Barcelona 2-0 Sporting: Catalan club end Group D campaign with victory
Last Updated: 05/12/17 10:52pm
Barcelona finished their Champions League Group D campaign with a 2-0 victory over Sporting Lisbon at the Nou Camp.
Ernesto Valverde's side had already sealed top spot, but Paco Alcacer's strike (59) and a stoppage-time own goal from former defender Jeremy Mathieu ensured that Barca stayed unbeaten.
Ernesto Valverde made eight changes for Barcelona, while Lionel Messi started on the bench.
Sporting went into the game with hopes of nicking second place and a last-16 spot from Juventus, but their 2-0 win at Olympiakos left the Portuguese club with no chance of progression, and they'll instead head into the Europa League.
It was a quiet Barca display in the first half with only one real opportunity to score midway through. Luis Suarez, who has now gone more than 800 Champions League minutes without scoring, did well to surge past his man and get into the box, but Rui Patricio was alert and quick of his line to save his attempt.
In the 35th minute, Nelson Semedo fouled Bruno Cesar after a Sporting counter attack, which earned the Portuguese full-back a caution that means he will be banned for the first leg of Barcelona's last-16 tie.
Barcelona started the second half with more purpose and a break in the deadlock did come just before the hour as Alcacer netted with a clever near-post flicked header from Denis Suarez's corner.
Barcelona: Cillessen (7), Semedo (6), Pique (6), Vermaelen (7), Digne (6), Denis Suarez (6), Andre Gomes (6), Rakitic (7), Vidal (5), Alcacer (7), Luis Suarez (6)
Subs: Busquets (n/a), Messi (7), Paulinho (n/a)
Sporting: Patricio (7), Piccini (6), Coates (6), Mathieu (6), Ristovski (5), Battaglia (6), Carvalho (6), Bruno Cesar (5), Fernandes (6), Acuna (6), Ruiz (5)
Subs: Dost (5), Martins (6), Coentrao (n/a)
Man of the match: Paco Alcacer
Barcelona threw on Lionel Messi right after taking the lead, but it was a Sporting substitute who had a glorious chance to score next.
Bas Dost was left with the freedom of the Nou Camp to score from six yards after 63 minutes, but he could only hit his effort straight at Jasper Cillessen, who made a great save but should not have been given any opportunity to do so.
There was still time for a cruel ending for Mathieu on his return to the Nou Camp, though, as he turned a Denis Suarez cross into his own net (90+1).
Man of the match - Paco Alcacer
It was far from a vintage Barcelona display on a night where they had little to play for, but Alcacer showed good endeavour up front and provided the breakthrough with a fine header.
Barcelona have a tough trip to Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday evening, while Sporting travel to Boavista in the Portuguese top flight on Saturday.