Juventus
    03.06.2015 14:44 - in: Champions League S

    Barcelona’s route to the final: Group F

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    Luis Enrique’s men sweep through to the competition’s last 16 as group winners on 15 points

    Group F

    Barcelona 1-0 APOEL, 17 September 2014, Nou Camp

    A solitary Gerard Pique header enabled Barcelona to kick off their 2014/15 Champions League campaign with all three points against APOEL.

    Many had expected a goal-filled encounter against the Cypriots, but George Donis’ men acquitted themselves well and made life difficult for the hosts, who held on to secure their first success in Europe's elite competition under the stewardship of Luis Enrique.

    Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 Barcelona, 30 September 2014, Parc  des Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain edged a five-goal thriller to sink Barcelona in a thrilling battle of the Champions League heavyweights at the Parc des Princes.

    The hosts burst out of the traps and made their early dominance count when David Luiz controlled and swept Lucas’ free-kick beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen from close range on 10 minutes.

    Barcelona drew level two minutes later, Messi exchanging passes with Andres Iniesta before guiding a crisp left-footed effort across Salvatore Sirigu.

    Their parity proved short-lived, though, as Marco Veratti planted Thiago Motta’s corner home to restore the hosts’ advantage on 26 minutes.

    Two became three shortly after the break when Blaise Matuidi diverted Gregory van der Wiel’s cross into the back of the net following a quick break on the counter, only for Neymar’s riposte 120 seconds later to set up a nervy last 35 minutes for Laurent Blanc’s charges.  

    But a fine Marquinhos block on Jordi Alba aside, Paris Saint-Germain were able to ride out a late Barcelona onslaught to steal an early march on their Group F rivals in the race for qualification.

    Barcelona 3-1 Ajax, 21 October 2014, Nou Camp

    Early goals from Neymar and Messi in 17 first-half minutes made it an uphill struggle for an Ajax side who found themselves up against an irresistible Barcelona looking to keep up the heat on group leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

    Despite all their attacking play, the hosts were unable to extend their lead and were dealt a brief scare when Anwar El Ghazi came off the bench to pull one back for Ajax on 88 minutes.

    However, youngster Sandro Ramirez put pay to any late threat of a comeback, adding a third in injury time to provide the gloss on a good night at the office for Enrique’s men.

    Ajax 0-2 Barcelona, 5 November 2014, Amsterdam ArenA

    Goals in each half from Messi took Barcelona through to the last 16 of this year’s Champions League, with Ajax on the receiving end of the Argentine’s talents at the Amsterdam ArenA.

    A rare header, only his fourth in the competition, enabled the forward to break the deadlock nine minutes ahead of the interval and he wrapped up the victory 14 minutes from time, swapping passes with Pedro Rodriguez before tapping home.

    APOEL 0-4 Barcelona, 25 November 2014, GSP Stadium

    Messi was again in imperious form during Barcelona’s next Champions League outing, downing APOEL with a superb hat-trick to become the competition’s all-time top scorer.

    Luis Suarez had drawn first blood with a neat finish just shy of the half-hour mark, paving the way for the Messi show to get into full swing. His first, on 38 minutes, saw him stretch out a right foot to divert Rafinha’s shot beyond Urko Pardo.

    His second of the night came early in the second half when he beat the offside trap to dink Dani Alves’ assist past Pardo. This was followed by his third and Barcelona’s fourth three minutes from time, rounding off an unforgettable night for the mercurial Argentine.

    Barcelona 3-1 Paris Saint-Germain, 10 December 2014, Nou Camp

    Barcelona battled back from an early Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike to leapfrog Paris Saint-Germain into top spot of Group F.

    The Swedish frontman had silenced his former stomping ground on the quarter-hour mark but the hosts drew level just four minutes later, Messi guiding the ball home after a majestic Javier Mascherano pass had played Suarez into space.

    The comeback was complete three minutes before the interval when Neymar smashed a dipping shot beyond Sirigu, bringing the Nou Camp to its feet in the process.

    Paris Saint-Germain saw chances come and go in the second half and found themselves punished after Suarez pounced in the latter stages to put the final outcome beyond any doubt.

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