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No breakthrough for Barcelona with Lyon holding La Liga leaders to goalless draw

Ernesto Valverde’s side dominated possession and attempts on goal but failed to break the deadlock.

Lyon defender Leo Dubois and Lionel Messi in action on Tuesday.
Lyon defender Leo Dubois and Lionel Messi in action on Tuesday.
Image: Laurent Cipriani

BARCELONA SLUMPED TO a fourth draw in five matches across all competitions as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate away to Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash.

Ernesto Valverde’s men were far from their intense best and were particularly wasteful in front of goal, as Lionel Messi struggled to produce the kind of match-winning display many have come to expect every time he takes to the pitch.

Barca generally controlled the entertaining first half and created some promising opportunities, but were it not for two excellent early saves from Marc-Andre ter Stegen they could have found themselves trailing.

The second half was lacking in intensity, as opportunities became more infrequent and Barca had to be content with returning to Camp Nou for the second leg on March 13 without an away goal.

France Soccer Champions League Memphis Depay and Messi battle for the ball. Source: Laurent Cipriani

Lyon were the quicker out of the blocks and went close twice inside 10 minutes, as Ter Stegen got down to keep Houssem Aouar’s effort out of his bottom-left corner, before then brilliantly tipping a 25-yard Martin Terrier strike onto the crossbar.

But Barca did craft several openings of their own – Messi spurning arguably their best in the 17th minute when blazing over from 12 yards after Jordi Alba’s cut-back.

Lyon were then spared on the stroke of half-time, as Jason Denayer crucially deflected Sergio Busquets’ goal-bound effort just wide.

The hosts started the second half well and went agonisingly close when Memphis Depay’s first-time 20-yard strike early on flew just wide the left-hand post.

But that was a rare Lyon highlight in the second period as Barca dominated – goalkeeper Anthony Lopes producing a string of fine saves to thwart Luis Suarez twice and Busquets’ long-range attempt all in the final 20 minutes, securing himself a deserved clean sheet.

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