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‘In a footballing rut’

Updated on: 09 November,2023 07:22 AM IST  |  Hamburg
Agencies |

Barcelona manager Xavi rues team’s good chance to qualify; harps on need to reset their game after shocking 0-1 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg

‘In a footballing rut’

Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski reacts after a missed opportunity against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg on Tuesday. Pic/Getty Images

Barcelona slumped to a 0-1 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, spurning the chance to seal early qualification to the Champions League knockout stages. Danylo Sikan’s dipping header in the 40th minute secured Shakhtar a famous victory as Xavi Hernandez’s flat Spanish champions failed to trouble their Ukrainian opponents.

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Shakhtar Donetsk’s Danylo Sikan (second from right) celebrates his goal v Barcelona with teammates in Hamburg on Tuesday. Pic/AFP
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Danylo Sikan (second from right) celebrates his goal v Barcelona with teammates in Hamburg on Tuesday. Pic/AFP

Barcelona still lead Group H ahead of Porto, second, hosting Royal Antwerp later on, with the Portuguese side able to pull up alongside the Catalans on nine points with victory. “We can see we’re in a bit of a footballing rut, we have to do a reset,” said Barca coach Xavi. “We played a bad game, we have to admit it.” Xavi said his team had wasted a good chance to progress. “After two years without qualifying for the last 16, today is a missed opportunity,” he continued. “It’s the most inopportune moment. There are a lot of demands [on us], I think that today we couldn’t fail and we failed.”

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Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez

After failing to progress from the group stage for two seasons running, Barcelona saw this clash as an opportunity to get the job done with two games to spare. However, Shakhtar, playing their home games in Hamburg because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, held their own from the start. Barcelona missed big chances in the first match in October, but this time, Marino Pusic’s team shut down their uninspired visitors, who produced just one shot on target.

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