Xavi’s first Champions League encounter as head coach ended in a goalless draw between Barcelona and Benfica.
Meaning that Barcelona must now win away at Bayern Munich in order to advance to the knockout stages.
Considering the disparity in form between the teams, a draw seems doubtful, but it’s not all bad news for the Catalan club either.
Bayern has won all five of its group stage games so far, including a 3-0 thrashing of Barça at Camp Nou.
One bright spot on a dismal evening was Yusuf Demir’s outstanding individual performance in the first half. At only 18, there is much hope for the future of this talented player.
With an option to make the deal permanent for reportedly €10 million, Demir, a senior Austrian international, joined the Blaugrana on loan from Rapid Vienna this summer.
Barcelona Draw With Benfica as UCL Round of 16 spot Still on Hold
In Xavi Hernandez’s second match as coach, Barcelona and Benfica played to a thrilling goalless draw in the Champions League on a rainy night at the Camp Nou.
Even with a win over Bayern Munich on the road on the penultimate matchday, Barca is still not guaranteed a spot in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
Though Barcelona dominated possession and created more scoring chances in the first half, they were unable to convert on any of their opportunities.
Roman Yaremchuk of Benfica had a close-range header saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and shortly after, Yusuf Demir of Benfica struck the post with a wonderful looping attempt.
Just before the hour mark, Nicolas Otamendi of Benfica made a sliding block to prevent Memphis Depay from scoring on a great opportunity from close range. The game remained scoreless.
With six points from four games, Barcelona sits in second place in the table; a victory today will guarantee at least a spot in the round of 16.
In contrast, Benfica’s prospects of making it to the knockout stage are hanging by a thread after they fell 5-2 to Bayern Munich on the road.
The home team scored three times (through Lewandowski, Sane, and Gnabry), with Benfica responding with two (via Morato and Nunez).