Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Barcelona: 5 talking points - UEFA Champions League 2017/18
Barcelona recorded a narrow and unconvincing 1-0 win over Sporting Clube de Portugal in their UEFA Champions League Group D encounter at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, which helped the Camp Nou outfit remain at the top of their group with 6 points from two games.
Lionel Messi provided the telling cross which led to the goal, as Luis Suarez's header was deflected towards goal by Sebastian Coates, which Rui Patricio couldn't keep out. The win means that the Blaugrana have won both of their group stage clashes so far and are in pole position to qualify for the knockouts as the top placed team.
Here are the key talking points from Barcelona's lackluster win over the Portuguese powerhouse:
#1 Ernesto Valverde's side do not shy away from winning ugly
Barcelona are considered as one of the best football clubs in the world and it is imperative that a club of that stature wins almost every game that it participates in, more so when you have arguably the greatest footballer of all time in your ranks.
However, after winning 8 out of their opening 8 games of the season, it appears that the biggest difference between Luis Enrique's Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona is that the latter is more adept at winning ugly and protecting slender leads.
It is not that the first 8 games have been a walk in the park for the Camp Nou outfit, who have also struggled with injuries, but the team has dug deep and found ways to churn out narrow wins, like the one against Portugal - something that was not associated with Enrique's side.