Viktoria Plzen 2-4 Barcelona: Blaugrana bow out of Champions League with a win

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Barcelona signed off a tough Champions League campaign with a win after coming out 4-2 victors in an action-packed clash with Viktoria Plzen.

The Blaugrana were already condemned to a place in the Europa League ahead of their final match of Group C, with Inter and Bayern Munich's progression assured last week.

Barca's only other victory of a dismal Champions League campaign came in the reverse fixture against Plzen in September, but Xavi's team rallied to win in style at the Doosan Arena.

Ferran Torres scored twice after Marcos Alonso's early opener and though Plzen hit back through Tomas Chory's double, Pablo Torre marked his first Barca start with a goal to settle the contest.

With nothing but pride to play for, Barca started strongly and were ahead in the sixth minute when Ansu Fati's shot was spilled by Jindrich Stanek, with Alonso quickest to pick off the rebound and prod home.

It set the tempo for a half where Barca dominated, though they had to wait until just before the interval to strike again.

Torres' close-range finish was originally disallowed for offside, but a VAR consultation overturned the original call to double Barca's lead.

Plzen unexpectedly struck back after the restart – Chory converting a penalty he won after drawing a foul from Torre – yet Barca's two-goal cushion was restored when Torres swept home from Raphinha's cutback at the end of a neat move.

Chory capitalised on slack defending to double his tally in the 63rd minute, though 19-year-old Torre lashed in Barca's fourth to wrap things up, with Plzen failing to convert a flurry of late chances to set up a grandstand finale.

What does it mean? Barca set for Europa League shot

After four Champions League games without a win, Xavi's side finally picked up a second of the season, against the opponent they made a bright start against back in September.

Their third-place finish would historically send them straight into the knockout stages of the Europa League, but as part of the revamp of UEFA's club competitions, they will now have to face a second-place group stage team from that competition in a play-off to actually make the last 16. They were defeated by eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals last season.

Kessie compounds injury woes

In a season that has already seen several of their stars sidelined through injury, Franck Kessie suffering an apparent hamstring problem in the second half is another blow for Barca.

The Ivory Coast international made three tackles before he made way – the joint-best for the visiting side on the night – and his industrious presence will be missed if he requires a lay-off.

Plzen go down swinging

Few gave the hosts a fighting chance, and their dismal possession figures – they only saw 23.2 per cent of the ball – would suggest they had been outclassed.

Yet that was not so, with Plzen having 22 shots to Barca's 11, with eight of the hosts' efforts hitting the target. Indeed, even after Torre became the second-youngest Barcelona player to score on his first Champions League start, the Czech side continued to press for more goals.

Key Opta Facts

- Plzen have lost 71 per cent of their Champions League games (17/24), the highest ratio of any side to have played at least 20 times in the competition.
- Plzen conceded 24 goals in this season's Champions League, the joint-most any side has conceded in a single group stage in the competition.
- Torres has scored in five of his last seven starts in the Champions League (six goals), with tonight his first start for Barca in the competition.
- Chory became just the second Plzen player to score a Champions League double, after Michael Krmencik against CSKA Moscow in September 2018.
- Alonso's opener for Barcelona was his first Champions League goal, in what was his 27th appearance in the competition.

What's next?

Viktoria will welcome Sparta Prague on Saturday, while Barca face Almeria the same day in LaLiga.