Barcelona didn’t have the best of games against a depleted Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday. The Ukrainians had many players out due to COVID-19. They ultimately landed in Barcelona with 13 first-teamers less. Mircea Lucescu didn’t have any choice at goalkeeper than Ruslan Neshcheret.
The 18-year-old goalkeeper did not disappoint on his Champions League debut. He lived up to expectations by making twelve saves. Despite letting in two, the Ukrainian still saved insane shots from Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi, or Ousmane Dembélé.
Ruslan Neshcheret made TWELVE saves against Barcelona, the joint-third most by a goalkeeper in a single #UCL game all-time.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 4, 2020
The 18-year old making quite an impression on his European debut. pic.twitter.com/DEMRKwRklj
The two most impressive strikes Neshcheret parried were from Dembélé and Messi. First, he tipped La Pulga’s free-kick over brilliantly. He then got a hand on the French winger’s electric strike. A super outing for the teenager. He now enters the European hall of fame. Neshcheret is now the joint-third keeper to make the most saves in a Champions League match.
Barcelona were unfortunate to meet a wall but had one of their own in Marc-André Ter Stegen. This fixture quickly turned to the battle of the goalkeepers.
Neshcheret comes from the Dynamo Kyiv academy and has played 7 games in the UEFA Youth League as well, in which the young gem has managed to keep 4 clean sheets. The 18-year-old has certainly put eyes on him, and we will have to follow up to see whether his performance was a one-time thing, and if not, we can expect him to make a transfer to one of Europe’s giants very soon.
Stats: Squawka and Transfermarkt
Ronald Araujo returns to Barcelona first-team training ahead of Sevilla clash
This Saturday afternoon, Barcelona will travel to Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan to face Sevilla for the control of the third place in the table. The Andalusians have already proved they are an incredibly tricky opponent so this clash is bound to be a big one once more.
But there is some good news for Ronald Koeman ahead of the Saturday challenge. Barcelona have officially confirmed that Ronald Araujo is once again training with the team. Of course, the centre-back has been out of action for quite some time now and the Catalans have missed him dearly.
He may be still young and developing but the Uruguayan is a true rock in their defence. Having him available should definitely help in the remainder of the season, especially since Gerard Pique is also back.
However, we still don’t know whether Koeman will risk his defensive talisman right from the start this Saturday, even if he is given the green light. Sometimes, throwing players into the fire immediately, especially for such a huge game, can be counterproductive.
Araujo is surely eager to play but Koeman needs to think long-term when making this tricky decision. Despite the opposition and the importance of the match, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to start him on the bench.
After all, he can always be substituted in if the team requires some extra solidity in the latter parts of the clash. Hopefully, however, it doesn’t come to that.
Either way, this is a must-win game and the team better be ready to face the challenge.