Before the game kicked off, Barcelona sat top of Group E, three points clear of Bayer Leverkusen knowing that their qualification to the next round could be secured. The reverse of this fixture, played a fortnight ago, saw the visitors leave with a 2-0 victory courtesy of a brace from Ivan Rakitić.
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The stadium filled before a massive banner was unveiled reading "Respecte" as a sign of the fans' displeasure at UEFA's decision against pro-Catalan independence flags being show in the ground. As the players lined up on the pitch, Barcelona joined Manchester City as clubs who now boo the Champions League anthem.
After the politics were set aside, the match got underway. Both teams started brightly in a very open game with Luis Suárez having a sniff at goal while BATE threatened to get in behind that leaky Barça defence.
Neymar, adopting a Ronaldinho-esque headband, had the first good chance at goal. After cutting in from the left side, he was hacked down just outside of the area and the Brazilian was the man to take the resultant free kick but it was a little too close to get the ball over the wall and back down again.
The returning Andrés Iniesta was having a great start to the game. Picking the ball up and finding his teammates through some clever passes and working space with some neat dribbles. It was the captain's midfield partner, Rakitić, who created Barcelona's next opportunity, Having started the game a little ropey, Rakitić quickly released the ball to Suárez who in turn looked to find Neymar. The forward couldn't quite get to the ball before Syarhey Chernik was out to claim it.
Unfortunately this was to be Rakitić's last act of the game as he pulled up with a calf injury in the 19th minute. The Croatian's injury means in the last four Champions League games, Barça have suffered an injury to a midfielder.
Munir was the man to replace him as Sergi Roberto dropped deeper and it was the former who was looking lively. Despite failing to impress in his previous run of games, Munir started well in this one. Linking with Suárez he was unlucky not to score as the ball was hooked away from him when a tap-in looked ensured.
The youngster was involved in Barça's eventual opener. Close to the byline, Munir flicked the ball over the sliding Filip Mladenovic. After a quick one-two with Suárez, Mladenovic had managed to catch Munir but only enough to plant an arm on his shoulder and tug him down. The referee looked for the advantage before pointing towards the spot. Neymar stepped up and went for an unconventional no run-up approach. Chernik went one way and the ball went the other as Barcelona got the opening goal of the game.
Barcelona were looking for the second goal that would kill off the game and it was a Brazilian connection down the left flank that almost brought it. Doing his best Jordi Alba impression, Adriano was on the overlap for Neymar and the winger found the bombarding left back. Adriano got the ball stuck under his feet in only a way a defender could so only managed to slide the ball onto the outside of the post.
The half time whistle blew at 1-0 and with the Roma - Leverkusen game at 2-0 to the home side it was looking like this wouldn't be the night for Barça to seal qualification.
Luis Enrique knew though that BATE did still offer an attacking threat and the Catalans wanted that two goal cushion. The next chance came from a corner as a flick on was flying towards Suárez but Chernik, who was having a good game despite the score, was quick out to deny the Uruguayan.
In an increasingly rare BATE attack, the away fans who had made the 1905 mile trip were rightfully aggrieved at one of the referee's decisions in the early stages of the second half. Ihar Stasevich raced away and got goal side of Adriano. As the the pair entered the penalty area, Adriano tangled his legs with the attacker and it was a harsh decision not to give the spot kick.
Shortly after the denied penalty appeal, Barcelona got their safety net. Neymar, again cutting in from the left, slid the ball to Suárez whose first touch was excellent and took Nemanja Milunovic out of the move. After beating the defender, the striker toe-poked the ball towards the left bottom corner and doubled Barça's lead.
With the game as good as won, Enrique elected to freshen things up and rest some legs. Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets both made way whilst Alexander Hleb made a return to the Camp Nou to applause from the home fans.
The team were cruising towards the final whistle but not before Neymar could grab himself another goal. A quick counterattack found Sergi Roberto who slid the ball into Suárez. With a run that pretty much defines breaking the offside trap, Suárez raced away towards goal. As he ran down the right flank his strike partner Neymar was on hand to receive the squared ball and pass it into the net.
The game finished 3-0 and with Roma winning the other game in Group E, the Catalans will have to wait until the visit of the Italians to secure their place in the next round.
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