HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Barcelona missed its chance to reach the knockout round of the Champions League with games to spare after a 1-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.
It was Shakhtar’s first win as a host in the group stage of the competition since it started playing away from Ukraine because of the war with Russia. A crowd of nearly 50,000 was in hand at Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.
“The whole team, including myself, have worked hard for that,” Shakhtar midfielder Georgiy Sudakov said. “I would also like to thank all the supporters for their support tonight.”
A draw would have been enough to secure Barcelona a spot in the round of 16 for the first time after two straight eliminations in the group stage of Europe’s top club competition.
The result ended Barcelona’s perfect Champions League record this season and moved Shakhtar into position to also advance from Group H.
Barcelona stayed with nine points and is tied with Porto, which defeated winless Antwerp 2-0 at home later on Tuesday. Shakhtar has six points in third place.
“It’s a tough loss,” Barcelona midfielder Oriol Romeu said. “We wanted to come here and secure our qualification but it wasn’t possible. We have to try to rebound as quickly as we can.”
Danylo Sikan scored the winner with a header in the 40th minute in the game that Shakhtar hosted in Germany because of the war.
The Ukrainian team lost 3-1 to Porto in its first home game in the Champions League this season. It played its home games in Poland last season, without winning any of them.
Shakhtar is making its seventh consecutive group-stage appearance but failed to reach the knockout rounds in the last five seasons. It had won only three of its last 20 matches in European competitions, including at Antwerp this month.
Barcelona had lost only once this season — to Real Madrid in the Spanish league “clasico” last month. It had no attempts on target through the first hour in Hamburg, and only one the entire match.
Barcelona has played poorly recently as it lost two of its last three matches in all competitions. Marc-André ter Stegen made two saves early in the second half to keep Barcelona in the match.
“It’s one of our worst matches that I recall in recent years,” Barcelona coach Xavi said. “We are not going through a good moment, we have to recognize that. It’s a mental thing. But we still depend on our own results and we can qualify at home against Porto in the next round.”
Xavi made four substitutions at once in the 59th to try to change the team’s dynamics, adding Pedri, João Félix, Alejandro Balde and Lamine Yamal. It wasn’t enough, though, and Barcelona didn’t threaten much until the end.
Barcelona had beaten Shakhtar 2-1 at home in the previous round.
“We saw in the second half of the away game against Barcelona that we are capable of playing against these sides, and tonight we proved we can beat them,” Sudakov said.
Shakhtar forward Newerton made his first Champions League start. The teenager had a goal disallowed for offside in the 87th.
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