La Masia Starlets Shine As European Champions End Group H Campaign Unbeaten
Pep Guardiola fielded a much-changed team against the Belarusian outfit but the class of the Catalan side sees them earn a comfortable victory
Goals from from Sergi Roberto, Martin Montoya, and a Pedro double helped a youthful Barcelona comfortably dispatch BATE Borisov 4-0 on Tuesday evening to conclude Champions League Group H.
The Catalan side had already qualified as group winners, and so opted to field a team with an average age of just 23, but the class of the European champions shone through as they dominated possession and created several chances to enjoy an even more convincing win.
Pep Guardiola's outfit got into their passing rhythm quickly, and almost made the perfect start when Champions League debutant Rafinha drove into the BATE box from the right and smashed a shot at Alyaksandr Gutar's near post but, the keeper palmed the ball to safety.
The locals continued to probe forward, and came extremely close to gaining an advantage just after the half hour mark. Isaac Cuenca drifted in from the right wing, which freed up room on the flank for Martin Montoya to receive a pass from his team-mate and cross to the back post for Sergi Roberto. However, the Spain Under-21 international could only manage to slide the ball wide despite having a largely empty net in which to aim.
Barcelona broke the deadlock a minute later, however. Thiago drifted into a pocket of space in front of the BATE penalty area and found the feet of Pedro just inside the box, who slid a pass into the centre for Sergi Roberto, and the 19-year-old made up for his earlier miss by coolly slotting the ball in the bottom right corner.
The hosts continued their dominance of the possession in the second period, and managed to double their tally on the hour mark with another well-taken goal. Cuenca was involved again as he drove towards the BATE defence from a central position and threaded a pass through to Montoya who made up considerable ground to drive into the box and drive the ball into the top left corner.
The game was done and dusted just two minutes later when Barcelona extended their lead to three goals. Cuenca earned another assist by gaining half a yard on Yurevich on the right and sliding a pass into the edge of the six yard box, and Pedro was on hand to masterfully flick the ball past Gutor with his heel at the near post.
Further misery was heaped on BATE Borisov three minutes before the final whistle. Volodko brought down Cuenca in the box, and Pedro stepped up to expertly dispatch the penalty for his second goal, and Barca's fourth.
Barcelona comfortably remain top of group H on 16 points, having already secured qualification prior to this match. BATE Borisov are out of European competition and find themselves in fourth place with two points from six matches.
( Source : Goal.com )