Juventus advance to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League with an aggregate score of 3-0 after a stalemate draw at Camp Nou. The Spanish mega club failed to overturn a seemingly impossible deficit, and even their fortress couldn’t help them save their season. With this win, Juventus have now avenged their UCL final defeat at the hands of Barça a mere 2 years ago.
Although the first half ended goalless, there wasn’t a lack of chances from either team. Juventus looked pretty dangerous on the counter, while Barça’s trying to penetrate the Juve defence through the left wing. Barcelona came closest to scoring in the 19th minute when an unmarked Messi shot wide from 12 yards out. Messi created another big chance when he beautifully lofted the ball above Alves, but Jordi Alba couldn’t manage to make any contact on a slide. Juventus’ best chance fell to Higuain, whose stretching volley was a rather tame effort, shot straight at Ter Stegen.
Barça couldn’t muster a comeback goal in the second half as well. Juventus defended exceptionally well to thwart their opposition in an equally fought tie. Messi squandered the best chance of the night in the 66th minute, when he failed to take advantage of Buffon’s mishandling and shot way over an empty net. Juventus came close through a counter attack, which Khedira failed to finish as he shot straight at Ter Stegen.
Even with an all-out attack, this was too difficult a task for Enrique’s men, who now look almost certain to finish the season trophyless with Real Madrid running away with the league title.
Here are the Talking Points from the Match-
Neymar the only Shining Star
Neymar was perhaps Barça’s best man on the pitch, and was unlucky to have not managed a goal. He was also the only player from the losing side who left the field teary- eyed, and did reserve the right to feel forlorn. He looked like the only player with a purpose, and ridiculed Juve’s defence with abundant threatening chances. He couldn’t manage to penetrate the opposition defence on his own, and one wonders if his team let him down here.
Referees take the Spotlight- Yet Again
Nobody would’ve thought that one day Barcelona, who have been accused of getting undue advantage from officials on countless times, would be hard done by the referees. Most of the 50/50 decisions went Juve’s way, as the Ref apparently looked scared of giving away wrong free-kicks. The players rightly looked aggrieved due to this stance, with Neymar in particular being a victim of two unpunished challenges, which were easily bookable offences.
Juventus’ Defence – The Best in the World?
Juventus’ defence stole the show as they managed to keep their 8th clean sheet in 10 UCL matches this season, and that too against a full-strength Barcelona side. They didn’t let the Catalans score over two legs, and they deserve the plaudits with a solid performance which left their team unscathed. The back line of Chiellini, Bonucci, Sandro and Dani Alves, along with the legendary Buffon, is no doubt currently the best in the world.
Why Would Allegri leave Juve?
In recent months, Massimiliano Allegri has been linked to many clubs, with many tipping him to the Manager’s position at Arsenal. He has even been linked to their today’s opposition, who are set to name a new coach by the end of May. But if his team performs just like the way they did tonight, why would he even think of leaving Juventus? He’s got an unparalleled squad with plenty of match- winners, and his team are now on course to claiming the UCL title. They just need to make a couple of world- class additions, which must include a Pirlo-like midfield maestro and an upgrade on Mandzukic, and his team would be simply unstoppable in Europe. When you’ve got serious chances to put your hands on the most elite trophy in the world, you wouldn’t fancy a chance to go anywhere else, would you?
Barça Tactics Failed Miserably
Barcelona were probably undone by their poor tactics. They fielded a 4-3-3 line-up, when the one they actually needed was a 3-3-1-3. Pique, Umtiti and Roberto would’ve been enough to stop the Juve attackers. Another thing they did wrong was their attacking method. They resorted to countless crosses and lofted passes against a tall and aerially solid Juve defence, when the better method would’ve been to ridicule them with the skill and numerous one-twos. But we have to admit, it wasn’t all their fault, as Juventus were simply fantastic.
Barça Fans are Class
Throughout the game, the Camp Nou was full of supportive cheers and chants, motivating their team to make another classic comeback. The scene in the 92nd minute, in particular, was simply majestic. Even when Barça were certain to lose, their fans were totally behind them. At a time when supporters of most other teams would’ve started emptying the stadium, their fans roared on, along with an incredible scene of Barça and Catalan flags being flown in almost every corner of the gigantic fortress. This is exactly what football is all about- Passion, Loyalty and Togetherness.