Barcelona have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and all but secured first place in their group with a game to spare despite a 0-0 draw with Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night. The Blaugrana were the better team for much of the match, but they lacked productivity in front of goal and couldn’t find a winner.
Barça didn’t have a bad first half, but they didn’t have a great one either. The Blaugrana had more of the ball and did some really nice passing at times, but they couldn’t find the decisive pass in the final third. That’s when not having Lionel Messi really hurt the Catalans, and their only real scoring chance came on a set piece when Ivan Rakitic hit a free kick straight to the post.
Juventus had their moments as well with Paulo Dybala involved in everything good the Italians did, but Marc-André ter Stegen came through when needed and kept the score tied.
At halftime, a decent performance from Barça needed a spark to maybe get the win. If only they had someone on the bench...
Messi came on after 55 minutes, and Barça began to dominate the game, constantly bringing danger to the Juventus defense and forcing the hosts to defend deep inside their half and not have any threat on the counter. Messi had a dangerous free kick that went just over the bar, and he created a golden chance with an incredible pass from midfield, but Lucas Digne decided to pass instead of going for it himself and wasted the opportunity.
As we approached the final 15 minutes Barça looked closer and closer to a goal, but Juventus decided to give it a go and went forward as well, though they didn’t create any chances. What we had in the final five minutes was a dull affair, with both teams looking to nullify each other and not concede.
In the end, a 0-0 draw at Juventus isn’t a bad result against such a strong team. We played 55 good minutes without Messi, and had a couple of great opportunities with him. Could it be better? Sure, but we lost 3-0 there not too long ago. I call that progress.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitic, Busquets; Deulofeu (Messi), Paulinho, Iniesta (Alba); Suárez
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic (Bentancur), Khedira; Cuadrado (Marchisio), Dybala, Costa (Matuidi); Higuaín