Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Barcelona: Second-half own goal enough for Barca victory
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 28/09/17 8:07am
Barcelona continued their 100 per cent start to their league and European season after a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.
After struggling to make an impact in the first half, Barcelona got lucky as they took the lead via an own goal from Sebastian Coates in the 49th minute and that proved enough to settle the contest.
Lionel Messi's quest for that 100th European goal goes on, as he rarely threatened to find the net in the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Sporting did threaten on occasion and went close to a leveller through Bruno Fernandes late on, but Marc-Andre-ter Stegen was alert to make the save and preserve Barcelona's impressive start to the campaign.
Sporting Lisbon: Patricio (7); Piccini (6), Coates (5), Mathieu (7), Coentrao (6); Battaglia (6), Carvalho (5); Acuna (6), Fernandes (6), Martins (5); Doumbia (4)
Subs: Silva (6), Cesar (6), Dost (6).
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Semedo (6), Pique (6), Umtiti (7), Jordi Alba (7); Busquets (7), Rakitic (5), Iniesta (6), S. Roberto (7); Messi (6), Suarez (6).
Subs: Paulinho (6), Andre Gomes N/A, Aleix Vidal N/A.
Man of the match: Sergi Roberto
Barca laboured early on as they struggled to find any rhythm. Messi had the best effort of the opening exchanges, but scuffed his effort straight at Rui Patricio in the Sporting goal from a good position.
Messi again went close in the 28th minute, but headed straight at Patricio as his search for that landmark strike looked set to be a frustrating one.
Sporting's best effort of the first half came through Marcos Acuna, but Ter Stegen was equal to it down to his right.
Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Nelson Semedo all returned to the line-up for Barca. Sergi Roberto moved forward onto the right wing. Lionel Messi and Suarez continued as a front two. Seydou Doumbia replaced Bas Dost, as expected, for the hosts, with Jeremy Mathieu facing his former club.
After the interval, Barca got the lucky break they needed to breach a determined Sporting side, as Messi's free-kick went in off the chest of Coates, after his fellow countryman Suarez had missed his header in the box.
Sporting pressed for an equaliser, and their best moment came when substitute Bas Dost laid the ball off expertly for Fernandes, but his shot was too close to Ter Stegen, who made the block with ease.
Barca should really have made the victory more comfortable late on, but Paulinho was denied by a sprawling save from Patricio, but they saw the game out to taste that familiar winning feeling once more.
Man of the match - Sergi Roberto
There weren't too many standout performers in the Portuguese capital, but Sergi Roberto, pushed forward onto the right wing, offered a real threat, and carried the ball forward at pace, causing the home side plenty of problems. His pass for the Suarez chance in the first half was exquisite.
Barcelona welcome Las Palmas to the Nou Camp on Sunday as they look to continue their 100 per cent record in La Liga, live on Sky Sports.
It is the big one at the weekend for Sporting, as they take on league leaders Porto.
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