Luis Suarez's 4/10 performance hinders Barcelona in goalless draw at Lyon
LYON, France -- Barcelona wasted a string of chances as they were held to a goalless draw at Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Tuesday.
Luis Suarez missed their best chance in the second half after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had made two brilliant saves to keep the home side out at the other end. The two teams will meet again in the second leg at Camp Nou next month with a place in the quarterfinals up for grabs.
Barcelona wanted to win this game -- or at least score an away goal -- and they did play like a side determined to get a good result. It wasn't to be in the end, but the draw makes them massive favourites to make the last eight with the return game to be played on Catalan soil.
This was another failure to win away from home in the Champions League knockout rounds. Barca have now come up short on the road when it really matters in their past six matches, dating to a win against Arsenal in 2016.
Of those six games, though, this was perhaps the one they should have definitely won. Though Ter Stegen was forced into two smart early saves, Barca were the dominant force. Once again, as against Real Valladolid at the weekend, they were wasteful in front of goal. They chalked up 25 shots, but none really tested Anthony Lopes -- only five were on target. They will hope a trend isn't developing.
The biggest concern is Suarez. The Uruguayan was poor in front of goal and killed some of his side's best moments. Twenty-five hours have now passed since his last Champions League goal away from home: against Roma on Sept. 16, 2015.
Manager Rating out of 10
6 -- Ernesto Valverde really had only two decisions to make before this game. The coach went for Ousmane Dembele in attack over Philippe Coutinho and opted for Sergi Roberto to complete his midfield trident. The decision to take the ever-present Dembele off, though, took the pace out of the Barca side. Maybe he was just playing it safe; the France forward recently returned from a sprained ankle.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 8 -- Made two stunning saves in the first half to keep it scoreless. Tipped a Houssem Aouar attempt round the post and then, somehow, got his fingertips on a rasper from Martin Terrier, pushing the ball on to the bar.
DF Nelson Semedo, 6 -- A string of impressive recent performances earned him a start in a big game and he didn't do a lot wrong. The battle between him and Sergi Roberto for the right-back spot is developing into an interesting one.
DF Gerard Pique, 7 -- Once again one of Barca's better performances. A brilliant tackle prevented an almost certain Memphis Depay goal in the first half, while he was one of the players driving his side forward late on as they sought a winner.
MF Sergio Busquets, 7 -- The pick of Barcelona's midfield. As well as protecting the back four, he ventured forward more than usual, twice coming close to finding the breakthrough.
MF Sergi Roberto, 6 -- The surprise pick in midfield. In the absence of the injured Arthur Melo, he was preferred to Arturo Vidal. Played fairly wide on the right for large parts of the game to create balance as Messi drifted inside to dictate play.
MF Ivan Rakitic, 6 -- A reliable performance but not a daring one. Could have taken more risks with his passing when in advanced positions. Had several chances to score, too, with one first-half strike inches wide.
FW Lionel Messi, 6 -- Not his inspired best but still Barca's main man, with nearly everything going through him. Set up a number of chances and could have scored himself. But he also gave the ball away too many times and doubts remain over his fitness following a recent thigh problem.
FW Luis Suarez, 4 -- Was more of a hindrance than a help throughout the game, getting in the way at crucial times and making poor decisions in possession. Missed Barca's best chance, bending wide in the second half after being fed by Alba.
FW Ousmane Dembele, 6 -- Back on French soil, Dembele was a real live wire and Lyon struggled to deal with him. However, he was wasteful when it mattered, missing a number of good chances to get on the score sheet.
FW Philippe Coutinho, 6 -- Replaced Dembele and came close to scoring, forcing a save from Lopes from 20 yards.
MF Arturo Vidal, N/R -- Came on for Sergi Roberto for the final 10 minutes.