Football news – Barcelona held by battling Lyon
Champions League last 16 first leg, OL Stadium – Lyon 0 Barcelona 0
Barcelona laboured to a fourth draw in five matches this month, with Lionel Messi and co. held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Lyon.
Both sides had chances to win the match, with the two goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Anthony Lopes the standout performers. It was the former who prevented Lyon from making the breakthrough in the first half, tipping a shot from Martin Terrier on to the crossbar.
Barcelona improved in the second half, with Luis Suarez presented with a series of opportunities to score an away goal. However, Lyon held firm to give themselves a chance of making the Champions League quarter-finals.
Ernesto Valverde’s side now have a big 10 days ahead, as they travel to Sevilla on Saturday before heading to Real Madrid for a double header in the Copa del Rey and then league next week. This is a spell that could define their season.
Lyon's French midfielder Houssem Aouar (C-R) makes a foul on Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (L)Getty Images
Is this a first leg result that favours Lyon or Barcelona? Herein lies the beauty, or drawback, of the away goals rule. Conventional thought dictates that a draw in the away leg should suit the away team. However, an away goal at Camp Nou for Lyon now carries huge worth. So who will be happier with a goalless first leg result - Lyon or Barcelona? There’s an argument to be made on both sides. Lyon made chances here and they will likely make chances in the return leg too.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Anthony Lopes (Lyon): This was a night for the goalkeepers to shine. In the first half, it was Ter Stegen who made a couple of stops to prevent Lyon from taking the lead, with his diving save on to the bar from Terrier the highlight reel moment. However, over the full 90 minutes it was Lopes who did the most to ensure there would be no breakthrough in this Champions League last 16 first leg. The Portuguese keeper was solid throughout.
9’ - WHAT A SAVE! Wow! Incredible save from Ter Stegen. Terrier lets rip from 20 yards out, his shot appeared to be heading for the back of the net, but the Barca keeper tipped it on to the crossbar. The best goalkeeper in the world?
18’ - MESSI USUALLY SCORES THEM! Indeed, he should have at least found the target there. The cut back was made by Alba, but Messi curls his left-footed shot wide of the target. Not great.
20’ - DEMBELE DENIED! Fantastic play from the Barcelona winger to beat Dubois, turning him inside out, but Lopes did enough to smother the low shot and keep the scoreline level at 0-0.
52’ - STRIKE FROM MEMPHIS! That had to be close. Traore tries to take on Alba, but the tackle is made. The ball pops out to Depay, who takes the snapshot. But his effort bends away from the far post.
64’ - BIG SUAREZ CHANCE! It seemed to get stuck under the feet of the Barcelona striker. Messi might have wanted the pass, but Dubois makes the block to deny Suarez's toe poke.
72’ - SUAREZ... WIDE! That was the chance for Barcelona to take the lead, to find an away goal. Alba picked out Suarez, but from eight yards out the striker hooks his effort wide of the post. That perhaps should have been the opener.
86’ - WHAT AN EFFORT! Messi rescued the ball at the byline and turned back to set up Busquets for the shot. The midfielder sent a side-footed strike towards goal, but Lopes tips over the bar.
Lyon have hit the woodwork eight times in their last nine Champions league games.
Barcelona have failed to score in back-to-back away games (in all competitions) for the first time since April 2017.
Barcelona mustered 25 shots in total, but failed to find the back of the net.
Ivan Rakitic attempted 29 passes for Barcelona in the first half and completed every single one of those 29 passes.