NEWS
Wednesday November 28 2018
Barcelona survive PSV scare to win Champions League group

Barcelona secured top spot in Champions League Group B but rode their luck after a narrow 2-1 win at PSV on Wednesday.

See how the action unfolded at the Philips Stadion our liveblog!

Barca seemed to be cruising through Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique goals, but PSV hit the woodwork three times and were unlucky to only bag a consolation through Luuk de Jong's header.

The Blaugrana tweeted in the build-up to kick-off that Samuel Umtiti suffered knee discomfort in training on Tuesday, so Clement Lenglet replaced his fellow Frenchman in central defence.

Elsewhere, Ernesto Valverde covered Luis Suarez's injury by using Messi as a false nine and flanking him with the returning Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, who rescued a point at Atletico Madrid in their last game. Ivan Rakitic was also back in the middle of the park, although Arthur joined Suarez on the treatment table, as did substitute goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

The Catalans already sewed up their place in the last 16 with a 1-1 draw at Inter before the international break, while third place and the Europa League were the best PSV could hope for in Group B.

Messi hit a hat-trick in a 4-0 Barca victory when they last met the Dutch champions back in September, but they weren't nearly as dominant in the Netherlands.

Indeed, Ivan Rakitic gifted possession just outside the Barca D to Gaston Pereiro, who fired a daisy-cutter on to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s right-hand post! The midfielder then volleyed over from a couple of yards out, when it was easier to side-foot past the German.

At the other end, however, Pablo Rosario headed Arturo Vidal's hooked volley off the line, before the Chilean had a header denied.

PSV kept turning the screw as De Jong climbed highest to head a corner on to the bar, before Ter Stegen blocked Denzel Dumfries’ rebound at his near post.

Yet an absolute bolt from the blue saw Messi play a one-two with Dembele, before somehow making his way through a melee in PSV’s box and blasting a shot into the back of Jeroen Zoet’s net.

It was soon 2-0 to the visitors as Pique fortuitously stabbed home Messi’s free kick, when the No 10 seemed to be going for goal.

With Tottenham Hotspur scoring a later winner against Inter, PSV subsequently threw the kitchen sink and Steven Bergwijn agonisingly drove the ball the wrong side of Ter Stegen's left-hand post.

Hirving Lozano looked to be through on goal, but Ter Stegen somehow grabbed the one-on-one from point-blank range, before De Jong headed just wide of the target.

The striker did pull one back for PSV with his next headed attempt, and it was no more than Mark van Bommel’s side deserved.

PSV 1-2 Barcelona

De Jong 82 (P) Messi 61, Pique 70 (B)

PSV: Zoet; Dumfries, Schwaab, Viergever, Angelino; Rosario, Hendrix (Gutierrez 71), Pereiro (Malen 71); Lozano, De Jong, Bergwijn (Romero 79)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Dembele (Denis 80), Messi, Coutinho (Malcom 69)

Referee: Kralovec (CZE)

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