Juventus thrashed Barcelona by 0-3 at Camp Nou in the last fixture of the Champions League group stages. The highlight was Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 2 goals against his rival Lionel Messi in the much-hyped fixture on Tuesday night.
The UEFA Champions League was the only breakthrough for FC Barcelona to overcome their disappointing loss against Cadiz last weekend. But that ray of sunshine was quickly overshadowed by Juventus.
The Bianconeri destroyed the Blaugrana with an impressive game from start to end, whilst shattering their 100% record for most wins in the knockout stage, and putting them out of action in their own ground.
FC BARCELONA 0-3 JUVENTUS FC TEAM NEWS:
Barcelona and their defense were in complete shambles, as they gave away too much space for their opponents.
Clement Lenglet and Araujo weren’t at their best, having created many defensive errors along with Jordi Alba, who was involved in dramatic foul play.
However, a number of subs were underway during the second half to give life to the game.
Fransisco Trincão was replaced by Martin Braithwaite, just minutes before the first half. Samuel Umtiti, who recently received the medical green light was sent in for Lenglet in the 53rd minute, along with Junior Firpo for Alba. Meanwhile, the La Masia talent Riqui Puig was sent in for Pedri during the 65-minute mark and Oscar Mingueza for Ronald Araujo.
For Juventus, Bentancur was in for Arthur Melo and Rabiot for Aaron Ramsey.
Likewise, last few minute subs were also made by Andrea Pirlo during the 85th and 90th minute with Dybala for Morata, Bernardeschi for Cuadrado, and Federico Chiesa for Ronaldo, who howsoever didn’t make quite an impact in the final minutes.
FC BARCELONA 0-3 JUVENTUS FC MATCH ANALYSIS:
The most awaited match was inaugurated by the formal rivals with a brief hug. The kickoff was then initiated by the hosts, but Juventus got the game underway and started pressing and dominating Barcelona within minutes.
Morata, Ronaldo, and the most midfield got under Barca’s skin and started to create spaces for the team. This altogether caused havoc that wrecked the opponent’s defense.
Barcelona, on the other hand, lacked creativity or showed no desire to create any chances for the team. The constant thumping and tormenting from Juve made the Catalan giants lose their possession very often.
Juventus, after 10 minutes or so, found themselves upfront when Ronaldo scored a controversial penalty with a tiny shoulder-to-shoulder challenge with Araujo. Yet the scoreboard was soon doubled by Weston Mckennie and his spectacular volley.
As the second half was set in motion, Ronald Koeman bought in changes in the hope of creating an array of opportunities for a goal.
But the disorganized team didn’t even get past Juventus and their central midfield, except for Leo Messi, who was seen scrambling in Juve’ box, attempting to get the ball at the back of the net. But his efforts were cancelled by Gigi Buffon’ gloves.
Further, the second half turned out to be fruitful for Juventus unlike awfully depressing for Barça.
A handball was called for Clement Lenglet, which gave Cristiano Ronaldo the chance to spice up the score by making it three.
In the later minutes, a pass from Ronaldo to Bonucci was tempted into a delicious fourth goal. But it was disallowed by VAR for having the number 19 on an offside position.
As the night came in, Juventus was only seen circling the pitch back and forth without posing any threat to unimpressive Barça.
Gianluigi Buffon (Man of the Match) – 8.5
For Gianluigi Buffon, age is just a number. The Italian successfully tackled multiple strikes from Messi and displayed breathtaking goalkeeping skills.
Weston Mckennie – 8
The young American dream gave the Catalans a run for their money. He undertook every opportunity and exhibited a powerful role play and kept the team’s winning streak in motion by scoring a wonderful goal overhead Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7.5
The Portugal international didn’t have quite an impact on the game at large, except for merging with Barcelona players in their box and yielding two penalties.
Lionel Messi – 7
The only Barcelona player who gave his best amidst the whole squad, which was a blunder in regards to defense and uninspiring attack. However, he did have 7 shots on target all of which were doomed by Gigi Buffon.
MANAGER AND PLAYER REACTIONS:
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman had his say after an utterly disappointing game,
“I think we lost the game in the first half-hour, as we got off to a bad start, didn’t play well defensively, were lacking aggression in midfield.”
“We weren’t aggressive, We weren’t good, not even positionally. We looked scared.”— Ronald Koeman
The Frenchman, Antonie Griezmann too made remarks on the team’s overall gameplay,
“We were missing everything — desire, attitude, a willingness to run. Everything was bad.”— Antonie Griezmann
Having being qualified for the round of 16, Barcelona and their displeased performance, like that in La Liga have slowly started to overtake in the UCL.
And hence, the team must strive hard to push themselves ahead in the ongoing league before welcoming Levante on Sunday at the Camp Nou.
As for Juventus, they set to travel to Genoa earlier the same day in Serie A fixture.
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