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Half-Time Report: BATE Borisov frustrate Barcelona in quiet first half

Barcelona dominate the first half but cannot find a way through against Belarusian champions BATE Borisov in the Champions League Group E clash.

Barcelona have dominated the first half but have been unable to find a way through against Belarusian champions BATE Borisov in the Champions League Group E clash.

BATE secured their first win of the group stages with a 3-2 victory over Roma last time out, but it was the holders who dominated from the first whistle and Neymar tested Sergey Chernik with a curling effort after the Brazilian had shown good footwork to open up a shooting opportunity.

Sergio Busquets fired wide and Luis Suarez's header was tipped over by Chernik as Luis Enrique's side continued to dominate, and the goalkeeper denied the visitors again when he saved Munir El Haddadi's low effort.

BATE Borisov's Belarusian forward Mikhail Gordeychuk (L) vies for the ball with Barcelona's Brazilian defender Dani Alves during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between FC BATE Borisov and FC Barcelona at the Borisov Arena stadium outside© Getty Images

Ivan Rakitic had to be called upon to replace the hobbling Sergi Roberto after 18 minutes and the Croatian created a chance immediately for Dani Alves with a fine pass, but Chernik was on hand again to keep the scores level.

The holders were dominant in almost every area but struggled to create clear goalscoring opportunities, Sergio Busquet's header dropping wide and Marc Bartra firing off target as the hosts held firm.

It was substitute Rakitic who had perhaps the best chance of the half when he failed to keep his header from Alves's cross down from close range, and though Neymar poked wide shortly before the whistle there was to be no breakthrough at half time.

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Javier Mascherano for Barcelona on February 11, 2015
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