A second half strike from Ansu Fati fired Barcelona to a 1-0 victory and three huge points against Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday night at the NSC Olimpiyskiy.
The result combined with Bayern Munich‘s triumph over Benfica lifts Barcelona to second place in Group E and a two-point advantage over the Portuguese club, setting up a showdown between the two sides on November 23. It was also the first win for interim boss Sergi Barjuan.
A minor injury forced Sergino Dest to the bench, so Oscar Mingueza was slotted in at right-back, while Clement Lenglet filled in for Gerard Pique, who left Saturday’s draw with Alaves with a knock. There were also returns for Ansu Fati in attack and Frenkie de Jong in midfield.
The two teams traded chances to start with Barcelona coming close around the half-hour mark when a Lenglet header off a Memphis Depayfreekick struck the post, although replays later showed the defender was offside.
That was followed later by their best chance of the half when a Nico Gonzalez header looked goal-bound, but deflected off the body of Memphis to Ansu Fati, who could not control the ball and get a shot off.
Dynamo started the second half the stringer of the two and a curling effort from Karavaev almost gave the home side a lead.
Barcelona thought they had caught a break when a penalty was whistled in their favour when Fati went to the ground in the Dynamo area, but VAR and referee Ovidio Hategan quickly reversed the decision after replays showed that Fati had tripped over himself.
At that moment Sergi went to his bench, bringing on Ousmane Dembele for Gavi, the Frenchman’s first appearance for Barcelona this season.
Fati would more than make up for his earlier stumble and gave Barcelona a massive lift with a right-footed strike for a 0-1 lead. Mingueza’s cross from the right wing took a slight deflection, but the 19-year-old was there to connect cleanly and fire into net.
It was now up to Dynamo to provide a response, so Sergi went back to his bench for defensive reinforcements, as Ronald Araujo replaced Lenglet.
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen hadn’t been too busy on the night, but he was called on to make a big stop in the waning moments, pawing away a Tsygankov shot.
Dynamo had a few final looks at goal, but Barcelona managed to avoid a last-minute letdown, leaving Ukraine with three badly needed points.