FC Barcelona's Ferran Torres celebrates after scoring the 0-1 goal during the UEFA Champions League group H match between FC Porto and FC Barcelona, in Porto, Portugal, 04 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO

Despite Lewandowski’s injury, Barça beat Porto

Sports Desk, Oct 4 (EFE).- Barcelona survived a bizarre game as visitors against Porto at the Estádio do Dragão, winning 1-0, undeservedly, thanks to a goal by Ferran Torres, who came on as a substitute for Lewandowski, who David Carmo injured. Barça is the sole leader in Group H.

Without De Jonk, Pedri, and Raphina, Barça had to overcome Porto’s good start. The first twenty minutes were solid for the home side, who aggressively surprised their opponents.

On the quarter-hour mark, a mistake by Koundé, who misjudged the ball, led to a Portuguese attack culminating in a shot from Eustáquio that Ter Stegen saved comfortably.

The Dragons protested about a possible penalty for Koundé on Taremi in the ensuing play, but Anthony Taylor waved away the claim. The English referee also missed a clear foul by David Carmo on Lewandowski, who was forced off with a left ankle injury and replaced by Ferran Torres a quarter of an hour before half-time.

Barça finally put Diogo Costa to the test when Lamine Yamal, making his first Champions League start, made the breakthrough. The ball found its way to Joao Félix, who unleashed a fierce shot from the edge of the area that forced the home goalkeeper to tip over for a corner.

Joao Félix (who was booed by the Porto fans every time he touched the ball because of his move to Benfica in his formative years) was the visitors’ most dangerous threat on the left. Tarimo also tried to surprise Ter Stegen from long range, but there was no clear chance.

Then, in stoppage time, Gündogan capitalized on a poor clearance by Romário Baró to pass to Ferran, who was alone in front of Diogo Costa to make it 1-0. The Shark’s goal, who began the season like a rocket, would be decisive.

Porto were far superior after the break. Koundé prevented a 1-1 scoreline when he saved a ball from Pepé as he was heading into the area and was already setting up his right foot to beat Ter Stegen.

Taremi headed wide from Romário Baró’s right-wing cross after the hour mark. Ter Stegen saved a close-range effort from Wendell, another from Taremi, and a curling shot from Galeno before Lamine Yamal had to leave the game unexpectedly to go to the dressing room ( it’s unclear whether he was going to the toilet) and was eventually replaced by Marcos Alonso.

Before the substitution, and with Barça a man down, the referee awarded a penalty for a handball by Cancelo. Still, after reviewing the play with the VAR, he concluded that there had been an earlier handball by Eustáquio.

There was still a quarter of an hour to go, and Xavi’s side would have to endure one or two scares before the final whistle. For example, Taremi’s goal was disallowed for offside after he had finished an acrobatic Chilean cross from Pepé, and Gavi was expelled in stoppage time.

Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, and Araujo injured, Barça survived in Porto. It is already the sole leader of Group H. Perhaps overcoming a match like the one they experienced tonight at the Do Dragão stadium means that their recent history in the Champions League is about to change.

FC Porto’s Mehdi Taremi in action during the UEFA Champions League group H match between FC Porto and FC Barcelona, in Porto, Portugal, 04 October 2023. EFE/EPA/MANUEL FERNANDO ARAUJO

– Technical sheet:

0 – Porto: Diogo Costa; Joao Mário (Nico González, min.85), Fábio Cardoso, David Carmo, Wendell; Romário Baró (Evanilson, min.64), Alan Varela (Conceiçao, min.85), Eustaquio; Taremi (Namaso, min.85), Pepe and Galeno (Iván Jaime, min.85).

1 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Koundé, Araujo, Balde; Romeu (Sergi Roberto, min.69), Gündogan, Gavi; Lamine Yamal (Marcos Alonso, min.81), Lewandowski (Ferran Torres, min.34) and Joao Félix (Fermín López, min.69).

Goals: 1-0: Ferran Torres (min.45+1).

Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG). Showed yellow cards to Cancelo (min.13), Cardoso (min.28), Araujo (min.28), Gavi (min.36), Koundé (min.47), Joao Félix (min.51), Sergi Roberto (min.86), and sent off with a double yellow card to Gavi (min.36 and 90+3).

Incidents: Match of the second round of the Champions League Group H group stage played at the Estádio do Dragão in front of 49,722 spectators.Ginés Muñoz