Barcelona have thrown qualification from Group F wide open after drawing to beat Czech outfit Slavia Praha at the Camp Nou, failing to win for the second time in just four days following Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Levante.
It was a slow start from the hosts and Slavia Praha actually had the best chances in the opening 10 minutes, offering problems on the counter-attack by using the pace of Peter Olayinka and Petr Ševčík.
Nicolae Stanciu saw a goal-bound deflected away from Marc-André ter Stegen’s net by his striker, while Lionel Messi had an outstanding solo effort denied by the underside of the crossbar during a rare attack from Barcelona.
The Argentina international saw another chance saved just before the break, while the visitors also had a goal ruled out with the last kick of the first half, while Barcelona had one of their own chalked off by the offside flag shortly after the restart.
Goalkeeper Ondřej Kolář produced world-class save after world-class save to extend Barcelona’s search for an opening goal, with Slavia Praha ultimately holding out for an impressive and deserved point in Catalonia.
Key Talking Point
Last month’s 2-1 win at Slavia Praha – where the hosts had 24 shots to Barcelona’s 13 – was clearly still fresh in the mind of Ernesto Valverde’s side, while another defeat against Levante on Saturday left Barça struggling to really get going.
Barcelona grew into the match and started to exploit Slavia’s high defensive line, but their only joy in attack came when Ousmane Dembélé combined with an overlapping Nélson Semedo, with Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann left as bystanders in the first half.
Chances came Barcelona’s way as they continued to exploit Slavia’s high defensive line, but Valverde’s side just couldn’t find a way past an in-form Ondřej Kolář and were unsurprisingly jeered off the pitch by fans in Catalonia following another performance that was below par.
Ter Stegen (6); Semedo (7), Pique (6), Lenglet (7), Alba (6); de Jong (7), Busquets (6), Vidal (6), Messi (7), Griezmann (6), Dembele (5).
Substitutes: Roberto (7), Fati (6), Rakitic (6).
There’s little doubt that Slavia Praha’s Peter Olayinka and Ondřej Kolář were the real stars at the Camp Nou, although that was largely a result of centre-back Clément Lenglet being the only defender to stop the visitors counter-attacking.
lenglet is one of the best cb’s in the world
— فهد العنزي (@Falanzii) November 5, 2019
Lenglet broke the defense but what does griezmann do. Make the wrong decision yet again.
— Man Like Ale (@LidoAlessandro) November 5, 2019
I have never seen a Barcelona team this bad, Lenglet and Messi the only ones playing okay
— (@ASMZandar) November 5, 2019
The player who touched the ball the most, Pique, Lenglet and Busquets.
— DM for it. (@SaudadeFutbol) November 5, 2019
Gerard Piqué and Nélson Semedo both picked up early yellow cards and were treading on eggshells for the remainder of the match, while Jordi Alba’s poor performance saw him substituted at half-time.
Thankfully Lenglet was back to keep Slavia Praha out throughout the game, but Barcelona were living life on the edge and once again walked away from a match against the Czech giants counting their lucky stars for simply not losing the game.
Kolar (8); Coufal (7), Kudela (7), Frydrych (6), Boril (5); Sevcik (7), Soucek (7), Traore (6), Stanciu (7); Masopust (6), Olayinka (8).
Substitutes: Tecl (5), Husbauer (6), Provod (N/A).
Barcelona will look for a huge improvement in their performance when they walk back out at the Camp Nou this weekend against Celta de Vigo, before most first-team players head off for international duty.