Fati goal boosts Barcelona's Champions League hopes

AP , Wednesday 3 Nov 2021

Ansu Fati scored a second-half winner as Barcelona edged Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 to boost its chances of advancing to the knockout rounds of the Champions League on Tuesday.

 Ansu Fati
Barcelona s Spanish midfielder Ansu Fati celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League football match between Dynamo Kiev and Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on November 2, 2021 (AFP)

Fati scored with a powerful one-timer from near the penalty spot to give the Catalan club its second consecutive victory over Dynamo.

The victory left Barcelona with six points in Group E, two more than third-place Benfica, which lost at Bayern Munich in the other group match. Bayern has 12 points after winning all of its matches so far, while Dynamo is last with one point.

Barcelona got the crucial victory despite having an interim coach and being depleted by injuries. It next hosts Benfica, while Bayern visits Dynamo.

Barcelona has advanced to the knockout rounds of the Champions League every time since being eliminated in the group stage in 2000-01.

Fati, making his first Champions League start in nearly a year, scored his third goal of the season with his strike in the 70th minute.

Minutes earlier the Catalan club had a penalty reversed by video review.

Interim coach Sergi Barjuan was on the Barcelona bench as the club was yet to replace Ronald Koeman, who was fired amid the team's dismal start in its first season without Lionel Messi in nearly two decades.

Barcelona was coming off three setbacks _ losses to Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano and a home draw against Alaves in the Spanish league. Before that, it had beaten Dynamo 1-0 at the Camp Nou Stadium for its first Champions League win this season.

Barcelona was without some key players because of injuries, including striker Sergio Aguero, defender Sergino Dest and veteran defender Gerard Pique, who scored the winner against Dynamo at the Camp Nou. Aguero will be sidelined for at least three months because of a heart issue.

Midfielder Frenkie De Jong was back in Barcelona's lineup after recovering from a muscle injury sustained in the home loss against Madrid.

Dynamo has lost six straight matches against Barcelona, including twice in last season's group stage.

This was the first time Dynamo qualified automatically to the group stage since the 2016-17 season.

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele came off the bench in the 65th for his first appearance in several months.

Barcelona midfielder Nico Gonzalez, 19, made his first start in the European competition.

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