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Ferran Torres on fire and Marc-Andre ter Stegen on top as Barcelona get lucky in Porto

A win’s a win...

FC Porto v FC Barcelona: Group H - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Diogo Cardoso/Getty Images

In a week where all of the focus on planet football seemed to centre around English officials and VAR operators, there’ll surely be question marks over the appointments of Anthony Taylor and Stuart Attwell for Porto’s Champions League tie against Barca.

On more than one occasions, VAR Attwell didn’t intervene when he quite clearly should have, the obvious penalty for the Portuguese side in the first half being just one decision that springs to mind.

No matter, that’s a discussion for another day.

What’s worth dwelling on is how well Ferran Torres did after replacing an out-of-sorts Robert Lewandowski who may or may not be out for some while.

Should the Polish forward be forced to sit onto the sidelines, Ferran could finally be handed the chance that he’s been crying out for - and this time he needs to take it with both hands.

FC Porto v FC Barcelona: Group H - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Diogo Cardoso/Getty Images

His showing on Wednesday night reminded everyone what he’s about. A finish that was calm and composed, and a performance that was more than acceptable given his general lack of minutes.

Were it not for Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s man-of-the-match performance, however, Ferran’s goal would not have won the match and put the Blaugranes in control of the group.

Yes, the team rode their luck at times, and but for profligate finishing from Porto, could’ve been two or three behind.

That said, when the German man mountain was called upon to stand tall, he did exactly that.

As we’ve seen on so many previous occasions, even if his defence is having a nightmare, more often than not Ter Stegen is the team’s saviour.

This win had his name all over it and on current form, perhaps only Alisson Becker in the top European leagues can come close.

The performance capped what was a special night for the custodian as he moved into joint third on the all-time list of appearances for Barcelona goalkeepers.

The worry for Xavi will be how much his goalkeeper was employed on the night.

Given how busy he’s also been kept in La Liga games this season, Barca’s defensive issues are clearly something that Xavi is going to have to solve sooner rather than later.

If Ter Stegen were to get injured for example, the worry would be that the season could collapse at that point.

Knee jerk reaction? Perhaps, but the importance of the German can’t be understated, and if Lewandowski is to be sidelined too, we might be saying the same about Ferran in due course.

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