Champions League

Messi returns as Dortmund rue missed chances against Barcelona

2019-09-18 07:08
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi (Twitter)

Dortmund - Lionel Messi returned from injury to make an innocuous first appearance of the season as Barcelona escaped with a 0-0 draw at Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Messi, who has missed the start of the season with a calf injury, came off the bench in a game which Barcelona were lucky not to lose after Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty and several chances in the second half.

"We played brilliantly in the second half, and it feels a bit like we have lost two points," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels told Sky.

Reus said he felt "rubbish" after his missed penalty and insisted that Dortmund should have won the game.

"We had four or five chances, and if we had taken one of them, we would have won," he told Sky.

"We said after the draw that we wanted to qualify for the knockout stages. If we continue to play like we did today then there shouldn't be a problem."

Lucien Favre's side delivered on their pre-match promise to play fearlessly against five-time European champions Barcelona, probing the visitors from the wings and repeatedly finding gaps in the back line.

Both sides had chances in a game of cat and mouse in the first half, but it was Dortmund who looked the more likely to score.

Heroic Ter Stegen

Reus was denied at point-blank range by goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jadon Sancho fired the ball over the crossbar shortly before half-time.

The hosts continued to turn the screw after the break, and were rewarded with a penalty when Nelson Semedo tripped Sancho in the box.

Yet Ter Stegen denied countryman Reus again from 12 yards, diving low to his left to beat away his Germany team mate's spot-kick.

The Barcelona keeper has now saved four of the six penalties he has faced in the Champions League, and was called upon to stop Reus yet again later in the half as Dortmund continued to dominate.

"Marco played really well today, and really hurt us," said Ter Stegen.

A luckless Reus also fired another good chance well over, while substitute Julian Brandt thundered a long-range effort against the crossbar.

Messi had begun his 30-minute cameo by that point, having come on around the hour mark for Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old prodigy freshly crowned as Barcelona's youngest ever Champions League debutant.

Yet the Argentine remained as blunt as his teammates in a Barcelona attack stifled by the impeccable defending of Dortmund elder statesmen Hummels and Axel Witsel.

He nonetheless had a chance to score the winner with the last kick of the game, but was denied by a desperate block from Thomas Delaney.

The draw leaves all four teams in Group F level on one point, after Inter Milan and Slavia Prague played out a 1-1 draw earlier on Tuesday.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
Logs
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