Barcelona were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at Camp Nou by a spirited Slavia Prague side in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
The Catalans were looking to seal their place in the last 16 with a win and also to bounce back after Saturday’s surprise 3-1 loss at Levante in La Liga.
Coach Ernesto Valverde picked Arturo Vidal in midfield, presumably to give his side more aggression after they struggled in their 2-1 win away to Slavia a fortnight ago.
Ousmane Dembele also returned to the line-up in attack, in the absence of the injured Luis Suarez, the French forward starting alongside Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.
But Barcelona created little in a lacklustre first-half display as Griezmann looked lost out on the left, Dembele was erratic and Messi was forced to drop deep to try to make things happen.
One such instance almost brought a goal as the Argentine ran from halfway, attacking down the right flank before cutting inside and sending a curler against the crossbar in a move reminiscent of many of the goals he scored earlier in his career.
Slavia also threatened and after putting a number of dangerous balls into the box early on, the Czechs had the ball in the net in added time at the end of the first half.
Defender Jan Boril, who scored Slavia’s goal in the teams’ meeting in Prague, got on the end of a cross from the right and slotted in after his initial effort was saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Source: Evening Standard