Masterclass defense sees Juventus through to the semis
When the quarter-final draw was announced one of the most interesting games was Barcelona versus Juventus. A team with very known for their front three against Europe´s best defense. A game which would be tactically difficult for both Luis Enrique and Allegri.
The first game was everything else than even. Juventus did edge Barcelona in every position on the field. With a very high-pressing defending combined with a low sitting back four Barcelona had trouble to play like they are used too. Juventus also controlled the midfield which automatically creates great damage to Barcelona. And with a somewhat shaky defense the Catalan´s had no chance. Within the first 45 minutes Juventus scored twice through the wonder boy Dybala. Barcelona tried to play their own way and had moments where they were keeping the entire Juventus team within 30 meters. But the clear chances were never actually there.
The second half was more controlled by Barcelona while Juventus choose to defend their excellent 2-0 lead. And while Barcelona made a change in backline and midfield, it did not affect the game that much. Juventus though went on and scored the third and last goal of the game. A goal which automatically meant that Barcelona needed another heroic game at the Camp Nou.
The second leg was nothing like the first. With Barcelona dreaming of another miracle, Juventus were there to keep a clean-sheet and go through. With very tight defending and sometimes even a seven backline they made life difficult for Barcelona. Suarez were kept quiet by a monstrous game from the center-backs Chiellini and Bonucci. Neymar did swipe through now and then but it never resulted in any clear danger. Messi had two chances but nothing that could scare Buffon in the goal.
With 3-0 down Barcelona had to put everything forward and that meant Juventus would create chances. And they did get enough chances but they did not convert them the way they were supposed to do. The clearest chances came from Higuaín but the Argentine had very poor finish this day. The second half reflected the first and Juventus managed to keep a clean at the Camp Nou and eliminate Barcelona. The Italians did take their revenge from the 2015 Champions League final where they were beaten by the Catalans with 3-1.
Barcelona are now eliminated for the second year in a row in the quarterfinals and with Luis Enrique announcing he will end his spell something drastic will happen in the club. Seeing that the second-leg almost all the players in Barcelona´s line-up were the same from the final two years before shows how the clubs progress has stopped in recent year.
Now Juventus are through and Juventus are actually the team to fear now in the semis. Their defensive display was truly masterclass and made a clear statement when keeping two clean-sheets against Messi, Neymar and Suarez. The semi-final draw will be this Friday at 11:00 GMT.