Barcelona headed to Barysaw top of their Champions League group and knew that a win would go a long way in securing their qualification. However manager Luis Enrique wasn't taking anything for granted and spoke of his expectation of a difficult game.
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This difficulty was quickly shown as BATE sat deep pretty much from the get-go. They were happy to let Barcelona keep possession and to stay compact in defence. This meant the Catalans had to rely on the pace and penetration of the likes of Neymar and Munir to create chances and it was the former who came close in the opening stages. The Brazilian worked space in the penalty area before firing off a shot which was easily saved.
The hosts continued to frustrate Barça in a way that we've seen countless times over the years. Sit deep, restrict chances and hopefully hit on the counter. However Barça's pressure did continue to build resulting in a flurry of corners.
The first, a floated ball from Neymar, found the head of Marc Bartra. The defender, who was playing in just his second Champions League game of the year, fired his header goal wards but the keeper was in the right place to tip it over the bar. The next corner, again taken by Neymar, was a well worked routine. Luis Suárez peeled away from his marker to meet the drilled pass but, despite making good connection, the keeper managed to palm away the effort.
But then it was more bad news for Luis Enrique on the injury front. Sergi Roberto, the man who seem to be covering for injuries all over the field this season, had to retire early and was replaced by Ivan Rakitić. Roberto's injury means that Barcelona now have just two healthy recognised midfielders in their squad.
One of those midfielders is Sergio Busquets who had the best chance of the half and probably should've scored. A looping free kick missed everyone before finding Barça's captain at the back post but his volley flew over the bar.
The two Brazilians in the side were looking the liveliest. Neymar was continuing to attempt to make chances on the left wing while on the opposite flank, Dani Alves was an ever-present in Barça's attack.
It was Dani Alves who created another opportunity for Barcelona. His run down the wing was matched by Rakitić in the centre and Alves' cross was accurate to pick out his teammate but the Croatian headed just over.
The sides went in at half time with Barcelona frustrated not to be ahead but confident of their ability to break the deadlock in the second half.
And it wasn't long before they did break the deadlock. Just three minutes after the restart, Neymar picked up the ball and burst towards the BATE box. Cutting inside he laid the ball on a plate for Rakitic who took a touch then rifled the ball into the top left corner. The keeper couldn't get close and Barça were ahead.
The away side could smell blood and the chances were becoming more and more frequent. The four goal hero of the weekend, Neymar, came close. A cross from his compatriot, Alves, was hit well on the volley by Neymar and it fizzed just wide of the post.
This game was also a good chance for Munir to impress. Both him and Sandro have failed to really have an impact since Lionel Messi's injury and Enrique has been rotating between the two. Munir did make a few good runs in the first half but his best chance came early in the second half. Mascherano robbed the ball before setting up the youngster on the edge of the area. He tried to lift the ball into the goal but he beat the bar as well as the keeper.
Soon after Munir's missed attempt, Barça doubled their lead. Again, Neymar cut in from the left hand side. Dribbled his way into the box before sliding the ball into the path of Rakitić. The Croatian dinked the ball over the keeper with a finish that Messi himself would've been proud of.
Now 2-0 down, BATE did eventually decide to drop their tactic of sitting deep and attempted to carve out a chance but it was very difficult for them. Whenever a player did get forward, he had next to nothing in terms of support and it was sign of a how few chances they had that when they did manage a shot that stung the gloves of ter Stegen, there was a visible shock on some of the supporters' faces.
With the job done, the game began to wind down. Munir and Busquets left the field to be replaced by Sandro and Gerard Gumbau. The game finished at 2-0 and with Bayer and Roma sharing the points, Barcelona's place in the next round is all but confirmed.
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