Barcelona won their first Champions League match of the season at the third time of asking, beating Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 at Camp Nou.
Ronald Koeman’s side had suffered successive 3-0 defeats to Bayern Munich and Benfica in Group E and were in desperate need of a result against the Ukrainian outfit to give them a fighting chance of reaching the knockout stages.
They strolled to three points on Wednesday night with a routine win against a lifeless Dynamo side.
Sergino Dest nearly gave Barcelona the lead after just 90 seconds when Jordi Alba picked him out from a deep cross, but the USA international couldn’t keep his header down.
Luuk de Jong had a huge chance to put Barça in front when he met Memphis Depay’s free-kick, but his free header was way off target.
The towering Dutchman then had a shot tipped over by Heorhiy Bushchan as the visitors tried and continually failed to build from the back.
Bushchan was on hand again to save Dynamo to deny Dest from close range, but was powerless to keep out Gerard Pique’s volley following another great looping ball from Alba, scoring Barcelona’s first Champions League goal this season.
Koeman threw on Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati at half-time with Dynamo there for the taking, and the duo had real joy running at the Ukrainian defence.
Fati robbed Bushchan just two yards from his goal, and attempted to beat the goalkeeper by flicking the ball in the air to score with an overhead kick, but the teenager’s effort went wide.
Barcelona created little else in terms of clear cut chances, but eased their way to victory due to Dynamo’s complete inability to do anything useful in possession.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – 5/10 – Bit harsh a rating but the poor guy had so little to do all evening.
Oscar Mingueza (RB) – 5/10 – Seemed far too defensive an option and was subsequently withdrawn at half-time for Coutinho.
Gerard Pique (CB) – 8/10 – Had the pace to keep up with young striker Vladyslav Supriaha somehow and shut down every sniff of a Dynamo attack.
Clement Lenglet (CB) – 6/10 – Minutes in the tank without looking that good or bad.
Jordi Alba (LB) – 9/10 – Rolled back the years with a dominant display from left-back.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – 5/10 – Unlike Pique, you could see Busquets’ best years physically are behind him, bringing down Dynamo’s midfielders with clumsy challenges.
Gavi (CM) – 6/10 – Tidy, but didn’t reach the heights that he has so far already this season.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – 6/10 – Ditto. Effective but not spectacular.
Sergino Dest (RW) – 7/10 – At least tried his best on the wing before being moved back in the second half and looking instantly more comfortable.
Luuk de Jong (CF) – 4/10 – Just so obviously out of his depth.
Memphis Depay (LW) – 6/10 – Showed flashes of promise but didn’t set the world alight.
Philippe Coutinho (RW) – 7/10 – His and Fati’s introduction brought some zip to Barcelona’s play.
Ansu Fati (LW) – 7/10 – Always exciting on the ball. A true heir to the number 10 shirt.
Sergi Roberto (CM) – 6/10
Sergio Aguero (CF) – 5/10