Pique turns striker to keep Barca's Champions League hopes alive

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman made a number of changes in the starting line-up as the side was searching for 3 points in this crucial clash with the Ukrainian side with both Ansu Fati and Phillipe Coutinho starting from the bench. Sergino Dest and Luuke De Jong who joined Memphis Depay in a new looking front three were denied by the visiting goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan in the successive occasions.

A Gerard Pique goal helped Barcelona win their first points of the 2021 champion’s league season defeating Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman made a number of changes in the starting line-up as the side was searching for 3 points in this crucial clash with the Ukrainian side with both Ansu Fati and Phillipe Coutinho starting from the bench.

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Sergino Dest and Luuke De Jong who joined Memphis Depay in a new looking front three were denied by the visiting goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan in the successive occasions.

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Coming from the bench, both Fati and Coutinho produced some opportunities after the break but were denied by the subtle Dynamo goalkeeper, Bushchan.

Gerard Pique's 36th min strike of the cross by Jordi Alba proved to be enough for the struggling Barca side to clinch the first 3 points in the champions league this season.

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Until that moment the fans in a Camp Nou stadium that again failed to attract 50,000 supporters had begun to show their frustration, after seeing Dest and Luuk de Jong miss chances to put the Catalans ahead.

De Jong was preferred in attack to Fati, who coach Koeman had said before the game was still not fit enough to start three games in a week, and the big Dutch striker had a complicated first half, reports Xinhua.

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He headed wide from six metres out after 18 minutes, and seven minutes later rose to meet a Memphis Depay corner, but once again failed to hit the target.

Dest was also guilty of missing a header before firing straight at the keeper when he had the goal at his mercy.

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Fati and Philippe Coutinho came on for De Jong and Oscar Mingueza for the start of the second half to allow Dest to drop back into defense and Fati went close with an overhead kick.

Kiev struggled to create much in attack, although Pique did well to block an effort from Viktor Tsyhankov following a set-piece.

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Coutinho had a good chance to ensure the win for Barca with just under 20 minutes to play but sliced his effort wide, although Barca held on for a win which, although far from convincing, means they keep their Champions League hopes alive ahead of Sunday's 'Clasico' against Real Madrid.

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