Shakhtar Donetsk recorded a famous win over Barcelona to push Xavi’s Barcelona back into post-Clasico crisis.
Barça were poor again, as they had been at the weekend against Real Sociedad, and this time there was not late goal to save them.
They finished the first half having had no shots on target, forced no corners, and gone behind on minute 40 when Danylo Sikan headed in Giorgi Gocholeishvili’s cross.
It was a great header from Sikan but Barcelona defended the move terribly with Ferran Torres lackadaisical as he wandered across to close down Gocholeishvili and Andreas Christensen losing the scorer at his back leaving him with a free but still difficult header to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Xavi will not have been happy at half time but it was Shakhtar Donetsk who had the first chance of the second half with Gocholeishvili forcing a save from Ter Stegen at his near post.
Danylo Sikan scored the only goal on the night at the Volksparkstadion stadium in Hamburg
With the game played in Hamburg because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Barça’s German keeper had been well received by the ‘home’ fans. Without him the lead could easily have been doubled.
Barça’s restart was so poor that Xavi made four changes on 58 minutes with Lamine Yamal, Joao Felix, Alejandro Balde and Pedri replacing Raphinha, Ferran Torres, Marcos Alonso and Oriol Romeu.
Joao Felix forced two quick corners but the first sailed harmlessly into Dmytro Riznky’s hands, and the second was taken short and also came to nothing. On the other wing Lamine Yamal’s crossing was poor and a frustrated Robert Lewandowski did little to hide his frustration with it in the penalty area.
With just two minutes left Newerton scored a second cutting in from the left but the flag was up and it didn’t count.
Seven minutes were added on but there was no equalizer. Joao Felix appealed for two penalties but the first was a hand in the area from a rebound and the second a challenge that was arguably outside the box.
It was a dismal night for Barça – it won’t stop them qualifying but it does nothing to avert the sense that they are losing their way. For Shakhtar it was a memorable night and one that keeps their hopes very much alive of staying in European competition.