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Played
December 6, 2012 1:15 AM IST
Camp Nou — Barcelona
Referee:‬ S. Moen‎
Attendance:‬ 50659‎
 
Top of the Match
Artur
Artur
Benfica
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Barcelona
Flop of the Match
Maxi Pereira
Maxi Pereira
Benfica
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

Barcelona 0-0 Benfica: Messi stretchered off but Portuguese pay for profligacy

The Eagles' inability to convert a host of opportunities cost them a spot in the last 16, while the hosts lost their talisman to a suspected knee injury late on

By Tom Webber

Barcelona vs Benfica
Getty
Benfica failed to ensure it was they who followed Barcelona into the last 16 of the Champions League as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou.

The Portuguese paid the price for wasting an abundance of chances that could have seen them take a memorable three points against a largely second-string Blaugrana team, as a win for Celtic in Group G's other fixture meant they would have to settle for a spot in the Europa League.

Tito Vilanova sprung a number of surprises with his Barcelona line-up, but the biggest came as Lionel Messi, one strike away from equalling Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, began the game on the bench.

After a brief attempt from Adriano to fill the Argentine's shoes with a scything run through the visitors' back line, a defensive lapse enabled Rodrigo to race through on goal at the other end.

The former Real Madrid youngster had Nolito in support but went alone and failed to bend his shot into the corner, instead watching it skip wide.

It proved not to be a momentary slip as the Blaugrana defence looked extremely disorganised. In the 21st minute they did not pick up Nolito on the left and his cross found an unmarked Lima in the box. The Brazilian, however, was unable to direct his diving header on target and Pinto was untroubled.

Moments later, it was almost the Eagles who were punished, as Luisao's attempt to intercept Alexandre Song's pass ended up gifting Christian Tello a chance. He seized on the ball but his touch was heavy and Artur managed to do enough to put the youngster off.

Benfica continued to look more threatening but their was no end in sight to their profligacy in front of goal. Lima's shot came back off the post after the slightest of touches from Pinto, and John shot into the side netting after cutting inside Carles Planas with ease in the 35th minute.

The second half looked to be heading the same way as the first when, within the first minute of the re-start, Nolito saw his curling effort from Lima's cross sail narrowly wide of the target.

The Catalan giants finally began to create some chances through David Villa but when those were not taken, Vilanova introduced Messi in the 58th minute.

However, the Argentine did not quite have the desired game-altering impact. After a rather tame 79th-minute free kick, he was denied the fabled 85th goal following a great recovery save from Artur at the death, though he seemed to do himself some serious damage in attempting to find the net and was promptly withdrawn.

For Benfica, the point was not enough to book their spot in the next round as they finished third, two points adrift of Celtic, while Barcelona had long since ensured that they would progress in first place.


Barcelona

13
4.00
5
Carles Puyol
Defender
3.00
2
Montoya
Defender
3.00
21
Adriano
Midfielder
60′ 66′
3.00
-
Planas
Defender
3.00
6
Thiago Alcántara
Midfielder
3.00
17
Alex Song
Midfielder
2.50
24
Sergi Roberto
Midfielder
2.50
12
Rafinha
Midfielder
49′ 58′
3.00
9
David Villa
Striker
2.50
20
Tello
Striker
79′
2.00

Benfica

4.00
1
Artur
Goalkeeper
3.50
4
Luisao
Defender
59′
2.50
14
Maxi Pereira
Midfielder
3.50
24
3.50
28
L. Melgarejo
Midfielder
3.00
21
Nemanja Matić
Midfielder
78′
3.50
-
André Gomes
Midfielder
3.50
10
Nolito
Midfielder
43′ 63′
3.50
11
Lima
Striker
74′
3.50
24
Ola John
Striker
3.00
19
Rodrigo
Striker
74′

Substitutes

1
 - 
3
Piqué
Defender
66′
3.00
-
 - 
12
 - 
16
Busquets
Midfielder
 - 
10
3.00
10
2.50

Substitutes

 - 
13
Paulo Lopes
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
Luisinho
Midfielder
 - 
33
3.00
30
Bruno César
Midfielder
63′
 - 
30
3.00
7

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

3.00
-
 
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Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
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14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
10 1
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
Striker
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8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
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7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
6 2