Reuters

Juventus defensive masterclass dumps out Barcelona

Juventus defensive masterclass dumps out Barcelona
By Eurosport

20/04/2017 at 05:20

Camp Nou, Champions League, quarter-final – Barcelona 0 Juventus 0, Juventus win 3-0 on aggregate

An expert defensive performance - from back to front - was enough to frustrate Barcelona and send Juventus into the Champions League last four. Though Barcelona had plenty of the ball, they only created two proper chances over the course of 90 minutes, and even they will have to concede that they were beaten by the better team.

Juventus actually started the brighter, unwilling to allow their hosts time in possession and first to loose and second balls. Eventually, though Barcelona took over with Neymar particularly influential. Unusually, Lionel Messi was quiet, but then on 19 minutes he spread play wide to Jordi Alba and continued into the box, except when the cross came over, he drilled wide from eight yards.

Neymar of Barcelona holds his leg in pain during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on April 19, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill

Neymar of Barcelona holds his leg in pain during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Juventus at Camp Nou on April 19, 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun BotterillEurosport

Perhaps the most significant compliment one might pay Juventus is that the game, a Champions League quarter-final second leg, at Camp Nou, was a complete non-event. Never did they panic; never were they even flustered. It is true that Sami Khedira picked up a booking, so will miss the first leg of the semi, but otherwise, it was another perfect night for the Old Lady.

TALKING POINT - Can Juventus win the Champions League?

They will certainly be asked more questions by Monaco and Real Madrid, who attack with greater fluency than Barcelona, while Atletico Madrid defend at least as well. Which is to say that of the remaining four clubs, they are the outsiders - but none of the other three will relish playing them.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): A more or less perfect defensive display, giving away very little to some of the best players in the world and whose commanding presence inspired his teammates.

Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and Juventus

Giorgio Chiellini of Juventus celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between FC Barcelona and JuventusGetty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Barcelona: Ter Stegen 6, Sergi Roberto 6, Pique 6, Umtiti 6, Jordi Alba 6, Busquets 5, Rakitic 5, Iniesta 4, Messi 5, Suarez 4, Neymar 7. Subs: Alcacer 5, Mascherano 5.

Juventus: Buffon 6, Dani Alves 7, Bonucci 8, Chiellini 9, Alex Sandro 6, Khedira 8, Pjanic 6, Cuadrado 7, Dybala 6, Mandzukic 6, Higuain 5. Subs: Barzagli 6, Lemina 6, Asamoah 6.

KEY MOMENTS


15 - Lovely ball from Pjanic setting Cuadrado away down the right and Dybala's in the middle, but Pique slides in to block superbly. Immediately, Barca break with Neymar, and the move ends with Rakitic's shot from the edge of the box which flies over.

18’ - We've seen this before! For the first time, Messi finds himself in space outside the box and lifts a pass into it for Jordi Alba. On the slide, he can't quite arrive in time, shinning over the bar.

19’ - Barca have taken over these last few minutes, and here's Messi! He spreads wide to Alba, makes his way into the box, and when the ball does too, Suarez tees him up ... except, arriving onto it, he drags wide from eight yards!

49’ - Dybala robs Iniesta and finds Higuain, who slides right for Cuardrado ... his low drive scuttles just wide, though he insists it's a corner not the goalkick which is what's given. Ter Stegen might've got a touch, but I'd say not.

56’ - Lovely from Rakitic, snapping a square pass to Messi from out on the right. Messi takes it beautifully too, moving it into his stride to shoot from 20. But Chiellini stretches every fibre of his being to narrow the angle, and the low left-footed curler is accordingly a foot wide of the far stick.

67’ - Barca win a corner, Buffon comes, misses, and Suarez clips the loose ball back for Messi! But it's a little high and on his right foot, so though he leaps well, he can only guide yet another shot off target.

80’ - Chance for Barca! Clip over the top from Neymar, and there's Mascherano in the six-yard box, without a goal in 300-odd appearances for the club, getting a feather when all it needed was a tickle! Dear oh dear.

KEY STATS

  • Barcelona failed to score in both legs of a Champions League knockout game for the first time since the 2012/13 semi-final against Bayern Munich.
  • This match ended Luis Enrique’s 100% home Champions League record at the Nou Camp – he had won all 15 previous matches before tonight.
  • Barcelona have now failed to reach a Champions League semi-final in back to back seasons for the first time since 2004/05, when they went three in a row without one.
  • Lionel Messi had five shots off target in the match, his most in a Champions League game since September 2015 against Roma (also five). Only once before has he attempted more off target in a Champions League match (six vs BATE Borisov in 2011).
  • Juventus have now made the semi-finals of the Champions League twice in the last three seasons (also 2014/15) having failed to reach that stage at all between 2003/04 and 2013/14.
  • Gianluigi Buffon has now kept 46 clean sheets in the Champions League - only Iker Casillas (54), Edwin van der Sar (50) and Petr Cech (47) have more than the Italian.
  • Of teams to have attempted 15 or more shots in a Champions League match this season, Barcelona tonight had the lowest percentage of those shots on target (5% - 1 out of 19).
  • Juventus haven’t conceded a single goal from open play in this season’s Champions League, going a full 900 minutes without conceding.

MATCH IN A TWEET

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