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Torres, Lopez on target as Barcelona secure home Champions League win

By Lori Ewing and Fernando Kallas

Updated October 26, 2023 — 7.12am

Barcelona: First-half goals from Ferran Torres and Fermin Lopez helped Barcelona secure a 2-1 home win against Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League Group H tie on Wednesday night (Thursday AEDT).

The locals dominated from the start despite missing several key players due to injury and suspensions, and they opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a Torres volley from a rebound after 20-year-old Lopez’s strike from close range smashed into the right post.

The goal was initially ruled out for a hint of an offside in the build-up, but a VAR check confirmed that Lopez was onside when he struck from inside the box.

Without the injured Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie De Jong, Jules Kounde and Pedri, and with midfielder Gavi suspended for a red card in their win over FC Porto, Barca manager Xavi Hernandez called up eight academy players including Lopez who is becoming a regular in the first team.

He caused all kinds of trouble for Shakhtar and extended Barca’s lead in the 36th, unleashing a thunderous shot that ricocheted off the left post on its way in.

Barca then missed several chances to stretch out their lead, with Lopez hitting the post twice more and having two goals ruled out by VAR for tight offsides.

Fermin Lopez scores Barcelona’s second goal against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Fermin Lopez scores Barcelona’s second goal against Shakhtar Donetsk.Credit: AP

Shakhtar midfielder Georgiy Sudakov stroked in a tidy finish from a counterattack in the 62nd minute to narrow the deficit, but Barcelona held on despite late pressure to secure their third win in three games.

“It was a hard-fought victory in a difficult match. It was hard for us. I’m happy for the win and for helping out with a goal,” man of the match Lopez told Movistar Plus.

Gimenez scored on his debut in Europe’s top club competition to become the second Mexican player to do so after Edson Alvarez for Ajax against Lille in 2019.

Feyenoord, European champions in 1970, doubled their lead before half-time when midfielder Calvin Stengs cut inside and set up Algeria international Zerrouki to shoot home.

Two goals from Santiago Gimenez ensured it would be a night to remember for the home fans in Rotterdam.

Two goals from Santiago Gimenez ensured it would be a night to remember for the home fans in Rotterdam.Credit: Getty

Gimenez grabbed his second from a rebound from Quinten Timber’s shot in the 74th minute but Lazio claimed a consolation when Marcos Lopez fouled Valentin Castellanos and Pedro Rodriguez converted the penalty seven minutes from time.

Feyenoord moved top of Group E with six points ahead of Atletico Madrid’s game against Celtic. They visit Lazio on November 7.

United pay tribute to Charlton; victories for Bayern, Arsenal

Manchester: Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag laid a wreath in the centre of the storied Old Trafford pitch on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) in a stirring tribute to club great Bobby Charlton before their Champions League 1-0 group-stage win over FC Copenhagen.

Ten Hag, who has called Charlton a “leader” and a “giant,” Charlton’s former teammate Alex Stepney, and under-19s team captain Dan Gore followed a lone piper playing The Red Flag on to the pitch.

Charlton, an England World Cup winner and one of Manchester United’s greatest players, died on Saturday at the age of 86.

“We love you Sir Bobby ... a hero to millions, the finest English footballer the world has ever seen. You will live on in our hearts forever,” the public address announcer said, before asking for a minute’s silence.

Supporters then broke into “There’s only one Bobby Charlton!”

The much-maligned Harry Maguire was the hero for Manchester United.

The much-maligned Harry Maguire was the hero for Manchester United.Credit: Getty

The good vibes didn’t last long, however, with fans booing United off the pitch at half-time following a tight opening term, their players unable to use emotions stirred by the memory of the club great to make any headway against the group outsiders from Denmark.

The jeers turned to cheers for Harry Maguire when the oft-maligned centre-back headed home a cross from substitute Christian Eriksen.

Goalkeeper Andre Onana, another player under pressure in the early stage of this season, preserved the win by clawing away Jordan Larsson’s penalty in the seventh minute of stoppage time in a dramatic finish to an emotional evening.

United still have to work to do in the group, however, their three-point haul still one adrift of Galatasaray after three matches. The Turkish side lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich, who top the group with a perfect return of nine points.

Joshua Kimmich and Harry Kane celebrate the latter’s go-ahead goal for Bayern in Istanbul.

Joshua Kimmich and Harry Kane celebrate the latter’s go-ahead goal for Bayern in Istanbul.Credit: Getty

Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored goals either side of half-time as Arsenal completed a 2-1 victory at Sevilla, a hard-fought win that takes them to the top of Group B at the midway point of the pool stage.

Arsenal top the group with six points from their three games. Lens are in second place with five points, followed by Sevilla and PSV Eindhoven with two each.


In Istanbul, Bayern Munich soaked up intense pressure from Galatasaray for more than 70 minutes before striking twice to carve out a victory that kept them firmly top of Group A.

The Bavarians unusually found themselves on the back foot with Galatasaray carving out 20 attacks to their six with the two sides locked at 1-1 after goals in the opening half-hour.

However, Bayern striker Harry Kane scored in the 73rd minute and Jamal Musiala added another six minutes later to snap their opponents’ 23-match unbeaten run across all competitions.