Last Update 18:32
Thursday, 15 November 2018

Messi rests for first hour as Barca beat Sporting 2-0 in CL

AP , Tuesday 5 Dec 2017
Barcelona's Spanish forward Paco Alcacer (2ndL) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League football match FC Barcelona vs Sporting CP at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on December 5, 2017 AFP
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Views: 1050

Lionel Messi rested for the first hour as Barcelona beat Sporting Lisbon 2-0 to close out its Champions League group phase on Tuesday.

With Barcelona already qualified for the knockout rounds as group winner, coach Ernesto Valverde gave starts at Camp Nou to several players he normally uses as backups.

Forward Paco Alcacer took full advantage of the opportunity by scoring a header in the 59th minute, three minutes before Messi went on as a substitute. Denis Suarez, who played for the injured Andres Iniesta, provided the corner kick that Alcacer turned into the far side of the net.

Former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu added an own goal in stoppage time when he tried to clear a pass by Suarez heading for Alcacer in scoring position.

Sporting needed to beat the Spanish side and hope Juventus failed to win its match played simultaneously at Olympiakos.

Juventus won 2-0 in Greece and advanced as the second-place finisher in Group D. Sporting will move onto the Europa League as the third-place finisher.

Barcelona increased its unbeaten run to 22 matches in all competitions this season, and 24 home matches in the Champions League, a streak that started in 2013.

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