Barca’s destiny goes down to last day after draw with Benfica

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Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Benfica at the Camp Nou in Xavi’s second game as head coach, but remain above the Portuguese side in Group E. However, the Catalan club will have to beat Bayern Munich in Germany in their final group game to be sure of making the next round. Benfica host already-eliminated Dynamo Kiev in their last match, trailing Barca by two points. If the Portuguese outfit beat Dynamo Kiev on the last day, Barca will have to win in Germany against Bayern Munich.

Barcelona endured a nervy first half which saw Gavi waste the first clear opportunity, blazing over from close range when Memphis Depay was waiting in the middle for a tap-in. After a dominant opening 30 minutes by Xavi’s side, Benfica picked up and very nearly took the lead. In the 34th minute, Yaremchuk got his head to a corner and Ter Stegen made a fine stop. Just seconds later, Nicolas Otamendi hit a tremendous shot into the back of the net, but the linesman had spotted that the corner had gone out of play.

Just before the interval, Barca very nearly scored through Yusuf Demir, but the Austrian’s curling shot came back off the crossbar. It was goalless at the break, but the Catalans were the better side and were just lacking the goal.,

Xavi’s men picked up again after the interval, though, with Frenkie de Jong’s header forcing Benfica ‘keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos into a flying save. Seven minutes from time, Ronald Araujo had the ball in the net after finishing a sensational cross by Jordi Alba, but the linesman spotted that the Uruguayan had just strayed offside.

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