FC Porto 0-1 Barcelona (Oct 4, 2023) Game Analysis – ESPN

Substitute Ferran Torres scored to give Barcelona a hard-fought 1-0 win at Porto in their Champions League Group H clash on Wednesday, with the Spanish side finishing with 10 men after Gavi got a second yellow card for a foul in added time.

Porto were wasteful, but arguably the better side throughout as Mehdi Taremi, Stephen Eustaquio and Pepe missed chances to score in the first half.

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Torres, who came off the bench in the 34th minute to replace the injured Robert Lewandowski, intercepted a pass backwards by Porto midfielder Romario Baro and scored with a tidy finish during first-half injury time.

Porto got back on top in the second half and Barca defender Jules Kounde denied them an equaliser in the 53rd minute.

When Porto forward Pepe looked destined to score from point-black range after a quick counter-attack, the skillful French centre-back made a jaw dropping last-second challenge to clear the ball round the post with the tip of his boot.

“It was a pretty quick move that allowed me to clear the ball out. It’s satisfying for a defender to get something like that. I’m happy for not conceding and for the victory above all,” Kounde told Movistar Plus.

Porto thought they were awarded a penalty for a handball inside the box by Barcelona defender Joao Cancelo in the 77th minute, but the referee overruled his decision after seeing in a VAR replay that forward Eustaquio controlled the ball in the build-up with the help of his left arm.

Barcelona held on against Porto’s relentless pressure and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen‘s heroics from strikes by Wendell and Galeno were crucial to help the visitors earn three valuable points away from home.

“The first half was good, but in the second half we had a hard time controlling the match,” Barca manager Xavi Hernandez told Movistar Plus.

“We suffered in the end, but this is European football, this is the Champions League. It’s hard to win, especially away from home.”

Barca are top of Group H on six points from two games, three ahead of Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat bottom side Antwerp 3-2 earlier on Wednesday.

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