FC Barcelona hosted Apoel Nicosia in their Group F opener. The final result was a 1 - 0 victory to Barça & more importantly, the three points. Barça Coach Luis Enrique changed his team around & started with:
Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Bartra, Adriano; Sergi Roberto, Xavi, Samper; Messi, Neymar & Munir.
FC Barcelona kept to their style of possession Football while Apoel held back to defend & wait for counter-attacking opportunities. No surprises throughout the match with Barça attacking & creating chances almost getting to the monotonous stages. Apoel created some chances in the second half but failed to convert.
The only - & winning - goal came in the 28th min when Gerard Pique headed home a fixed play free kick.
Celebrations at Bilbao as Athletic Club returns to Champions League after a 16 year wait. Bilbao hosted Shakhtar Donetsk in their Group H match & played out a 0 - 0 final result.
The Athletic Club Bilbao starting line-up was:
Iraizoz; De Marcos, Gurpegi, Laporte, Balenziaga; Iturraspe, Mikel Rico, Beñat; Muniain, Ibai Gomez & Aduriz.
From the Bilbao point of view, 24 crosses into the goal area & no ball converted into goal, apart from this, with only 3 true goal chance-attempts all in the second half. This sums up the Bilbao night. Shakhtar on the other hand defended very well & won in the ball possession area- 54% - having their own very clear goal opportunities as well but failing to convert. Bilbao suffered to hold them out.
Seen it all after 90 mins, perhaps deserved result & draw.