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Barcelona 0-0 Benfica: 5 Talking Points as fortuitous Blaugrana split points at home  | UEFA Champions League 2021-22

Barcelona played out a goalless home draw against Benfica.
Barcelona played out a goalless home draw against Benfica.
Harsh Pillai
ANALYST

Barcelona and Benfica played out a goalless stalemate at the Camp Nou on the fifth matchday of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League.

Both teams went at each other as they looked to secure their place in the knockouts. However, both Benfica and Barcelona now need a result on the sixth matchday to reach the Round of 16.

Xavi's first Champions League game as Barcelona manager was a bit underwhelming. The team still lacks the urge to push throughout the 90 minutes, despite a change in management.

On a positive note, Xavi knows the issues afflicting his squad, and has commenced his tenure by solidifying the basics. Benfica presented a formidable challenge, but Barcelona showed promise. They were more confident on the ball, composed at playing out from the back and authoritative in possession.

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However, Benfica were equally impressive for large swathes of the game. The Portuguese side were rock solid in the middle of the park, and stood tall against a talented Barcelona midfield. Jorge Jesus' men only allowed three shots on target away from home at Barcelona, something the visitors should be proud of.

On that note, here's a look at the five talking points from the game:


#5 Xavi places faith in Barcelona's La Masia graduates

FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Santander
FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Santander

In his first Champions League game as Barcelona manager, Xavi dropped some senior players for a bunch of teenagers from La Masia. That was quite a bold move that could've backfired for the four-time Champions League winners.

17-year-old wunderkind Gavi, 18-year-old winger Yusuf Demir and 19-year-old midfielder Nico González featured in Barcelona's XI. Gavi was a regular figure even under Ronald Koeman.

Xavi had the likes of Phillipe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Luuk de Jong on the bench. But the 41-year-old preferred to go for balance over big names in his XI. It did not pay off as much as Xavi would've liked, though, as Barcelona now find themselves on the tip of a knife, which brings us to our next point:


#4 Barcelona on the brink of Champions League group-stage exit

FC Barcelona vs SL Benfica: Group E - UEFA Champions League
FC Barcelona vs SL Benfica: Group E - UEFA Champions League

The stalemate against Benfica at home means Barcelona need a result at the Allianz Arena against high-flying Bayern Munich to have any hope of reaching the Round of 16.

As things stand, Barcelona have seven points from five games, two more points than second-placd Benfica. However, Benfica will be playing Dynamo Kyiv at home, a game they're expected to win. Meanwhile, Barcelona face a tough challenge at the home of group winners Bayern Munich.

We still control our own destiny https://t.co/99pbXUMJTm

Barcelona would hope for a favour from Dynamo Kyiv in Lisbon, as Xavi's men are unlikely to get a result against Bayern Munich away from home.

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Edited by Bhargav
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