CL: Coates own goal puts Barcelona in command of Group D

Barcelona was a long way from its best, but a Sebastian Coates own goal handed the Catalans all three points against Sporting CP.

Barcelona celebrate against Sporting Lisbon   -  Getty Images

Barcelona extended its winning run to eight games in all competitions on Wednesday as it edged past Sporting CP 1-0 in a Champions League clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. 

Match Centre

Ernesto Valverde's side rarely had to get out of second gear to secure a win that puts the team in a commanding position at the summit of Group D.

The only goal of the game came just four minutes into the second half, and despite Luis Suarez wheeling away to celebrate, replays showed that the decisive final touch came from Sporting defender Sebastian Coates. 

Bruno Fernandes had a wonderful opportunity to claim a share of the spoils for Sporting in the second half but was thwarted by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, as Barcelona held on for a deserved three points.

Match Report:
Group A: CSKA Moscow v Manchester United FC Basel 5 Benfica 0
Group B: PSG v Bayern Munich
Group C: Atletico Madrid v Chelsea; Roma v FK Qarabag
Group D: Juventus v Olympiakos;

The Spanish giant will be confident of extending its lead at the top of the group when it hosts Olympiacos in three weeks. Sporting, meanwhile, face a daunting test against Juventus in Turin.

 

The game started at a pedestrian pace with Barcelona's potent attackers easily kept at arm's length by a well drilled Sporting backline. 

The team did get a clear sight of goal in the 15th minute, however, as Suarez whipped a shot over the crossbar when well positioned on the edge of the area.

Cristiano Piccini then saw his fizzing long-range drive tipped over by Ter Stegen before Suarez missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. Played in by a typically incisive pass by Lionel Messi, the Uruguayan could only hit his left-foot strike straight at Rui Patricio. 

The roles were reversed shortly after as Messi got himself on the end of a Suarez cross, only to head straight at the Sporting goalkeeper.

Messi was then denied a likely opener just before the break when Fabio Coentrao threw himself in front of the Argentine's goal-bound effort. 

Barcelona's influential playmaker was instrumental in the opening goal just three minutes into the second period. 

His teasing free-kick from the right caused chaos in the Sporting box and after bouncing off Suarez's head the ball ended up in the net via the unfortunate Coates.

Suarez did come close to getting his name on the scoresheet but his drilled shot from the edge of the area was straight down the throat of Patricio. 

Ter Stegen then produced a great stop to deny Fernandes an equaliser as Barcelona held on for maximum points.

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