Champions League: Juventus hold Barcelona to goalless draw

Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus
Paulo Dybala in action for Juventus
Share this post:

ERNESTO VALVERDE’S shock decision to start Lionel Messi was the big talking point before the match.

And remained so after 90 minutes such was the lack of memorable action at the Juventus Stadium.

The draw would see Barcelona finish top of Group D, but Massimiliano Allegri’s side need a win against Olympiakos in their final match to ensure qualification.

Third-place Sporting Lisbon beat the Greek side 3-1 and travel to the Nou Camp in their final match a point behind Juventus.

Valverde made the big decision to leave Messi on the bench with one eye on the top-of-the-table clash at Valencia on Sunday — and the lack of quality in attack was telling.

Gerard Deulofeu started alongside Luis Suarez and both struggled to break down the Juve defence.

In a pretty uneventful first half, Barca had the better chances with Ivan Rakitic hitting the post from free-kick which evaded everyone — and Paulinho headed the rebound wide from point-blank range.

Read This:  Atalanta beat Sassuolo 3-1 to qualify for Champions League

And visitors, who won this first meeting 3-0, were almost gifted an opener when Juan Cuadrado lost his bearings and headed the ball back to Gianluigi Buffon despite having Andres Iniesta just behind him.

Barca’s midfield magician was able to get a toe on the ball, but not enough to trouble the Juve net.

Amazingly, the Colombian was caught out again in the second-half when he misjudged a long ball and allowed Lucas Digne to go clean through.

The Frenchman had a great opportunity to open the scoring, but opted to play in Suarez with an under-hit pass which was immediately cleared.

Juve were playing like a side lacking in confidence, but will back themselves to beat Olympiakos at home and ensure qualification to the last-16 for the fourth consecutive season.

Failing that, even a second-string Barcelona side should avoid defeat against Sporting at the Nou Camp.

Share this post:

Post your comments below