- End of 2nd Half
- 2nd Half
- Mathieu (o.g.)90'
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
FC Barcelona - Sporting Lisbon
Champions League - 5 December 2017
Champions League – Follow the Football match between FC Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon live with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:45 on 5 December 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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And there's the full-time whistle! Far from inspiring stuff but Barca have gone through an 11th group stage campaign unbeaten,
- Own-goalJérémy MathieuSporting Lisbon
OWN GOAL! From Mathieu of all people! Poor Jeremy, he turns it into his own net in his old stomping ground. The crowd are singing his name! You have to feel sorry for him - if he didn't tuck it away from Denis Suarez's cross, Alcacer certainly would have.
Two minutes added on, in fact.
Fernandes almost, almost, picks out Martins in the middle but Cillessen claims it.
Barca go on the counter and Messi slides in Alcacer, who lifts the ball over Patricio but it's just wide of the post. Looks like the keeper got a touch on it too.
Barca just passing it round nicely. No rush. Could well see the full-time whistle go dead on 90 too... wouldn't surprise me.
CHANCE! That's another decent opportunity for Dost... but his volley goes down into the ground and bounces over.
QUALITY SAVE! Messi turns with the ball and looks to bend the ball inside the post, but Patricio gets down with a strong hand to make the save.
Just in danger of peetering out again this one. Villarreal on the weekend for Barcelona - big game too, and they don't have to chase a second here.
It's almost Busquets combining perfectly with Messi, but it's too strong from the Spaniard.
Without overstating what has been an altogether bland affair, Messi has made such a difference since coming on. More life in this game, that's for sure.
- OffLuis SuárezFC Barcelona
- OnPaulinhoFC Barcelona
Suarez's evening over - here comes Paulinho!
JUST WIDE! Messi slices an effort wide of the mark.
Digne gets in behind Fernandes but it's judged to be a foul and Sporting have some relief.
Under 20 minutes to go and time is running out for Sporting. However, they do have the Europa League to look forward to after Christmas. Silver lining and all.
Messi's presence have lifted this Barca side. The goal came moments before he came on, but the overall performance has been better in the past 10 minutes or so.
The pace of this game has certainly picked up. Sporting are going for it, which is creating more space in behind.
Juve lead 1-0 in Greece, and Barca lead 1-0 here. It's looking like Sporting's Champions League dream is coming to an end.
- OffGerard PiquéFC Barcelona
- OnSergio BusquetsFC Barcelona
And Busquets is on too!
- OffBruno CésarSporting Lisbon
- OnFábio CoentrãoSporting Lisbon
From cheers to whistles as a Real Madrid loanee comes on...
WHAT A SAVE! From six yards out Dost volleys from a cross but Cillessen manages to keep it out. Funny moment as he goes on to hug Cillessen from behind, in a sort of, 'How could you keep that out' kind of way - but he should have done better!
- OffAleix VidalFC Barcelona
- OnLionel MessiFC Barcelona
Arguably a bigger cheer of the night as Messi comes on to replace Vidal. Sporting's task just got tougher.
- GoalPaco AlcácerFC Barcelona
GOAL! Alcacer heads in from a corner! To be frank, he has done nothing all night, but Paco Alcacer is there at the near post to glance a header across goal into the far corner.
Into the wall from Suarez... Disappointing.
Foul from Bruno Cesar and Barca have a free-kick 20 yards out... Semedo holds his head, but it hasn't hit his head... Get up.
The game needs you... Heck, I need you.
WIDE! Martins chests the ball down and skips past a couple of defenders, but he ends up dragging his effort wide of the far post. Just needed a tad more composure there.
DEFLECTION! Rare space for Barca around the Sporting box as Suarez picks out Vidal, but his effort deflects wide for a corner when perhaps he should have slid in Alcacer.
On the pitch, less excitement. But hopefully the attacking changes from Sporting will open this one up a bit. Stop being grumpy, I am trying to tell myself.
Cheers as a certain Leo Messi starts to warm-up. That will wake everyone up.
- 2nd Half
Something in the air tonight with just five goals across the eight CL games this evening at half-time.
But let's look forward now the second half is underway. Goals, goals, goals are coming. I, er, promise, kinda.
- OffStefan RistovskiSporting Lisbon
- OnGelson MartinsSporting Lisbon
x 2 !
- OffAlan RuizSporting Lisbon
- OnBas DostSporting Lisbon
- End of 1st Half
No minutes added on and there is the half-time whistle. Tells you all you need to know. Pretty dull affair if I'm honest - here's hoping for more after the break.
Meandering towards half-time this one. Final chance perhaps for either side?
Closest chance so far, I should add... Three minutes left in the half! So yes, probably the closest we'll see.
The closest chance of the half fell to Suarez (below) but it was Rui Patricio who made a clever save, sticking out his leg to deny the Uruguayan.
It's Messi-esque dancing through the defence from Denis Suarez, but the final ball for Vidal lets him down, running through for a goal-kick.
Well worked free-kick routine as Fernandes rolls it wide for Acuna, but his fizzed ball in is blocked and out for a throw. Acuna remains out wide and his cross is headed towards Fernandes, who chests it down and volleys speculatively straight at Cillessen.
- Yellow cardNélson SemedoFC Barcelona
Risky challenge from Semedo, who comes in from the wrong side and picks up a yellow - meaning he will be suspended for the first leg of their last 16 game.
Acuna wins Sporting a corner... It's a good cross from Bruno Cesar but the referee blows up after Coates clatters into Pique.
Surely too early to talk of another Barca 0-0 in the Champions League? But now I can't help but think about it. Surely not a third...
- Yellow cardAlan RuizSporting Lisbon
First yellow of the evening as Alan Ruiz goes in veeery late on Pique. That's what you call a striker's challenge.
Sooo. Almost half an hour gone. Barca upping the ante but in the final third, it's not quite happening. Still, Sporting look a million miles from scoring right now.
GOOD SAVE! That's the Suarez we all know and (some of us) love. From nothing he just ghosts past his man but from a narrow angle Rui Patricio sticks out his leg to make a smart stop.
Handball? Nothing is given as Digne appears to bring the ball down with a bit of chest and arm inside his own area... bit risky but perhaps would have been a tad harsh.
JUST WIDE! Sporting are living dangerously here and not helping themselves at times. Carvalho is sloppy in possession and Andre Gomes nips in before flashing a low effort narrowly wide of the near post.
OVER! Suarez with the ball out wide, perhaps not where you want him in a game like this in Messi's absence, but he does manage to pick out Vidal in the middle, who blasts an effort from the edge of the area well over.
Ball over the top for Bruno Cesar and it's a tidy touch too, but alas the flag goes up for offside. As you were.
Not very often have I blogged a Barca game without reporting a chance of note after 16 minutes played, but the reality is, they have been slow off the mark. No doubt that will change...
The bad news for Sporting is that Juventus have taken the lead at Olympiakos. Even if they do win here, as it stands, that will not be enough...
Again it's Vidal out side for Barca, but his cross is intercepted by Piccini, who is in the right place at the right time!
A couple of deep crosses from Barca looking for Suarez in the middle. Not entirely what we're used to seeing...
CLOSE! It's the first warning sign for Sporting as Suarez gets round the back of the defender but sees his low cross back across the six yard sail past everyone.
Sporting drive forward and look to get in behind the Barca defence, but after it's played out wide by Acuna, he can't find a man in green and white.
Sluggish start at the Nou Camp in truth, but having made eight changes, it could take this Barca side a while to get used to their surroundings.
Good to see Mathieu back at his old stomping ground tonight. Just as I say that he gives away the ball near his own box but the hosts are almost so shocked they cannot fashion a chance.
Onimous start from Barca on their first attack. Suarez starts it off but VIdal can't quite pick out a team-mate with his cross.
- 1st Half
There goes the whistle, and we're off - a few minutes later than we should be. Do or die for Sporting. Believe it or not, the first goal is crucial!
Teams are out then. Time for that familiar anthem before we get going at the Nou Camp!
UP AGAINST IT
Barca are unbeaten in their last 23 home matches in the Champions League, while Sporting have failed to win any of their 11 games away to Spanish opponents. In a must-win match, the odds are stacked against the Portuguese side.
Sporting are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run ahead of their trip to the Nou Camp. Most recently, their 1-0 win on Friday against Belenenses saw them move level at the top of the Primeira Liga along with Porto, who drew 0-0 at home with Benfica on the same night.
Barcelona remain unbeaten and five points clear at the top of La Liga, but have most recently drawn two games in a row. The blip – if you can even call it that – has gone unpunished however, with Real Madrid and Valencia also stumbling on the weekend.
DID YOU KNOW
Barcelona are already through to the last 16 as Group D winners, while Sporting have a mere glimmer of hope that they can join the Catalan giants in the knockout stages. They must beat Barcelona tonight and hope that Juventus fail to win at Olympiakos.
Juventus are currently one point ahead in second, and a draw will not do for Sporting even if Juve lose, given the Italian champions have a superior head-to-head. Understand? Just about? Grand.
No surprise to see Valverde make eight changes in all - with Villarreal coming up on the weekend. Messi among those on the bench, while Luis Suarez starts!
For Sporting, Fabio Coentrao, Gelson Martins and Bas Dost have all been benched, while forward Alan Rui starts.
Barcelona: Cillessen, Semedo, Pique, Vermaelen, Digne, Rakitic, Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes, Vidal, Luis Suarez, Alcacer
Subs: Ter Stegen, Busquets, Messi, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Alba, Roberto
Sporting: Patricio, Coates, Fernandes, Acuna, Ruiz, Cesar, Ristovski, Carvalho, Battaglia, Mathieu, Piccini
Subs: Salin, Coentrao, Pinto, Podence, Dost, Palhinha, Martins
Evening all – it’s time for some Champions League action! By reaching this page I’m told you’re interested in all things Barcelona v Sporting, so let’s crack on. Kick-off at 7.45pm – live updates here throughout!