Barcelona of Spain failed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since the 2020-2021 season, after suffering its first defeat against its host Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine 0-1 on Tuesday in the fourth round of Group Eight competitions.
In a match held at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg (Germany), where Shakhtar was playing its home matches due to the Russian invasion of its country, Barcelona needed to achieve its fourth victory in a row in order to guarantee its ticket to the final eight for the first time since 2020-2021, when its campaign ended at the hands of Paris. French Saint-Germain.
But Shakhtar surprised them in a match in which Xavi Hernandez’s men did nothing, which made the Ukrainian team deserve the three points thanks to the goal scored by Danilo Cecan in the 40th minute.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) November 7, 2023
Barcelona therefore failed to win its first four matches for the third time in its history, after the 2002-2003 seasons (it won all six of its matches) and 2020-2021 (it won the first five before losing the sixth to the Italian Juventus).
Xavi’s team’s balance froze at 9 points in the lead, with a difference of 3 over second-placed Porto, which later hosts Antwerp, last without points, while Shakhtar’s balance also now stands at 6, reviving its hopes of competing for the two qualification cards.
The two teams did not offer anything significant at the beginning of the match, and the real threat to the goals was absent until the 15th minute, when Shakhtar was close to opening the scoring with a shot from a difficult angle by Mykola Matviyenko, but German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was looking out for him.
The situation remained the same until the 40th minute, when Barcelona found itself trailing with a header by Danilo Secan following a cross from the right side via Georgian Giorgi Gochulishvili, who was close to surprising the Catalan giant with a second goal at the beginning of the second half had it not been for Ter Stegen’s alertness (48).
The German goalkeeper came back to save his team in the 57th minute by blocking a shot from a difficult angle by Sekan, who was then forced to leave the field due to injury, coinciding with four substitutions for Barcelona after Xavi decided to resort to Lamine Jamal, the Portuguese Joao Felix, Badri, and Alex Balde all at once (59).
Despite these adjustments, Barcelona seemed truly unable to reach the net of its Ukrainian rival, and ended up suffering its first defeat against the latter since December 2008, when it fell at home 3-2 in the group stage, before taking revenge later by defeating them in the European Super Cup match. Summer 2009, then in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in the 2010-2011 season, first leg 5-1 and back 2-1.