Barca struggle to victory
Barcelona started their Champions League game with an unconvincing win after beating Sporting 3-1 at Camp Nou.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 16/09/08 10:27pm
Barcelona started their UEFA Champions League game with an unconvincing win after beating Sporting 3-1 at the Nou Camp.
Goals from Rafael Marquez, Xavi and a Samuel Eto'o penalty secured the victory for Pep Guardiola's side despite a nervy final 20 minutes after Antonio Tonel grabbed the visitors a goal.
The Catalans had a handful of chances, and while they had the lions share of possession, they lacked a killer instinct to finish off their opponents until late on.
After bossing the opening period, Barca carved out their first goal after 21 minutes thanks to some poor Sporting defending.
The Spanish outfit won a corner after a dominating spell in the Sporting half and Xavi's delivery found Marquez in acres of space on the right-hand side of the six-yard box.
And the Mexican duly obliged from some woeful defending to power a header back across the goal, through a crowd of players and past keeper Patricio.
The home side then created numerous chances with the likes of Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi coming close, but it was not until after the break that they extended their lead.
The second half began evenly but Barcelona doubled their lead on the hour mark when Eto'o was awarded a dubious penalty from an Abel foul.
And the Cameroon striker coolly converted the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way with a right-foot strike into the bottom left corner.
Tonel did give the away side a glimmer of hope when on 71 minutes he took advantage of some poor Barca defending to fire from close range after substitute Miguel Veloso's free-kick.
But Barcelona wrapped up the unconvincing win when Andres Iniesta's lofted through-ball was cleverly tucked away by man of the match Xavi.
|Barcelona||Team Statistics||Sporting Lisbon|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|14||Shots off Target||3|