EUFA Europa League round of 16 first leg at Nou Camp- Barcelona 0, Galatasaray 0.
Barcelona have it all to do if they’re to progress to the quarter-final of the Europa League after they were held to a goalless draw by a resilient Galatasaray at Camp Nou.
Xavi’s side were hoping to extend their winning streak to five games, but the form book went out the window as Galatasaray – who are in the bottom half of their domestic league – played admirably to hold the Catalans to a stalemate in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Barcelona dominated but couldn’t translate their possession and pressure into the hard currency of goals.
Having restricted their illustrious opponents to a couple of half-chances in the opening 45 minutes, the visitors only grew in confidence and posed a threat on the counterattack, often led by Kerem Akturkoglu.
The 23-year-old went close to opening the scoring in spectacular fashion after a magnificent solo run but saw his shot deflected agonisingly over the bar.
In a bid to spark a much-needed improvement in his side’s performance, Xavi made a triple change at the break, introducing Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets.
The switch in personnel and tactics allowed the hosts to play 20 yards further up the pitch as they upped the ante in search of an opener. But it didn’t come despite their best efforts.
Jordi Alba’s volley whistled just wide of the post and an acrobatic effort by substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck Frenkie de Jong and clattered against the post.
Committing so many bodies forward comes with a risk and the visitors thought they had a crucial goal in the tie when Bafetimbi Gomis converted from close range, but his celebrations were cut short when the offside flag was raised.
Neither side could find a breakthrough in a tense conclusion, but the Turkish giants will undoubtedly be the happier side as they look forward to welcoming Barcelona to Istanbul next Thursday.