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Lyon Frustrate Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Barcelona with 0-0 Draw in UCL

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2019

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi eyes the ball during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Lyon and FC Barcelona in Decines, near Lyon, central France, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Lyon and Barcelona battled to a goalless draw in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, with the teams producing a fascinating encounter in the first leg of the round of 16.

The French side frustrated the Spanish champions all night, and the hosts deserved to keep a clean sheet after defending in numbers.

Barca will be disappointed with the result, and must now produce a victory at the Camp Nou to progress.

                                 

Barca Will Not Win the Champions League With Luis Suarez as Striker

Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Despite their dominance in Spain, Barca do not look like a team that are firing and ready for European glory.

Lionel Messi remains a world-class threat at all times, but the supporting cast in the Blaugrana attack appear jaded.

Lyon set up firmly to compete and resist on Tuesday but left plenty of space for their opponents to work in the final third.

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Suarez was busy through the middle, but the Uruguay hitman has suffered a goal drought in Europe this term. The 32-year-old is starting to look his age, and he missed several chances he would have buried in years gone by.

Another poor performance by Ousmane Dembele didn't help, while Messi found it difficult to weave his magic as the hosts dug in during the second half.

Lyon's Portuguese goalkeeper Anthony Lopes (R) catches the ball next to Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (L) during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Lyon (OL) and FC Barcelona on February 19, 2019, at the Gro
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

With Philippe Coutinho finding it difficult to discover his best form since his huge transfer from Liverpool, Barca manager Ernesto Valverde needs to evaluate his options through the middle.

Suarez has been an exceptional servant for the Catalans, and 15 goals in 23 La Liga games this term proves he can still score on the domestic stage.

However, with Barca's style of play featuring less spark since Valverde's arrival, the team needs a fresh option up front.

Suarez was desperate to score in France, hanging off the shoulder of his marker all night long, but he has lost a yard of the explosiveness that once made him the scourge of defenders everywhere.

Barca need to scour the market in the summer to find a new goalscorer. Suarez will remain an important member of the squad, but the Spanish champions will not repeat Real Madrid's success in Europe with their current first-choice No. 9. 

                            

What's Next

Barca are back in La Liga action on Saturday, with the Spanish champions set to travel to Sevilla. Lyon face an away day at Monaco on Sunday in Ligue 1.

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