Pique leads Barcelona to a valuable victory in Champions

Barcelona: Gerard Pique scored an important goal to give Barcelona a difficult 1-0 victory in home to Dynamo Kiev in Champions League Group E and preserve the Spanish team’s hopes of qualifying for the playoffs on Wednesday. Pique converted a Jordi Alba cross with a direct shot in goal in the 36th minute to score Barcelona’s first goal in the tournament in this season and the first win for the club Catalan after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich and Benfica in the first two rounds of the group. Ronald Koeman’s team moved up to third place in the group with three points, one point behind Benfica and three behind club German, before meeting them later today. Barcelona received another major boost when new striker Sergio Aguero came on as a substitute at the end of the second half and appeared to have recovered from a calf injury just before the start of the season following his move from Manchester City. The Argentine international is expected to take part in the summit in Spain against Real Madrid next Sunday. It was not a convincing win for Barcelona against Dynamo Kyiv, who showed no offensive threat and did not shoot in brings. Koeman left in benched Barcelona coach Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho and Aguero before facing Real Madrid and pushed Sergino Dest, who usually plays in defense, to join Luc de Jong and Memphis Depay in attack. After two wasted chances with Dest and De Jong, Barcelona fans started booing the team and Koeman showed his frustration off the pitch by asking Fati and Coutinho to warm up after just 31 minutes. Immediately before the Dutch manager made the changes, defender Pique relieved the pressure and tension with a direct close-range shot from Alba’s cross. Fati and Coutinho participated in the second half and Barcelona’s performance improved after the 18-year-old striker showed his skills and nearly scored a wonderful goal with his heel. Barcelona was not in able to convert his ball possession in goal, but held out for a major victory. (Reuters)

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