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Barcelona lined up without Argentine superstar Lionel Messi but they managed to qualify for the next round of the Champions League despite being held to a goalless draw by Juventus. Messi was on the bench and made an appearance towards the end as he desperately tried to break the deadlock. However, their Italian opponents simply did not allow it.
To be honest, though, the draw actually benefited the Catalans since they only needed one point to make it to the Round of 16. Never did they even seem threatening enough to break Juventus’ famed unbeaten run in Europe, which has now extended to 26 games. What matters for Barcelona is that they have made it through but the road will only get tougher from here on.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was tested immediately as Juve’s Douglas Costa had the first chance of the game within the first 5 minutes, as he neatly made space for himself and took a strike. But the prolific keeper made a much-needed save to keep the trouble at bay. An opportunity for Juve came knocking once more as Paulo Dybala made an effort to score a goal but Ter Stegen blocked the shot with a well-timed dive to the left.
Of course, no big game is ever bereft of drama and this one had plenty of it. Right after the first 30 mins, Paulinho stepped past a confused Miralem Pjanic and dived into the area. That situation needed the referee to make an important decision that could’ve vastly impacted the game. There seemed to be zero to minimal contact, which prompted the referee to give out a yellow card to the midfielder.
Again, Juan Cuadrado had a chance to score for Juventus but his volley simply went too high over Barcelona’s net and another opportunity went down the drain.
On the other side of the field, Gerard Deulofeu tried to make something happen. He even tried to get a rather weak shot into the goal but Gianluigi Buffon stepped in and saved the effort right before half-time.
Luiz Suarez seemed invisible in the first half but he had an early opportunity in the second, which he wasted (it was a free-kick). That was when Messi came on and there was yet another free-kick which the Argentine took, but once more, it did not yield any positive result for Barcelona.
Dybala threatened to score in injury time and almost secured a last-gasp victory for Juve but Barcelona were lucky enough since Ter Stegen made a brilliant save to seal the fate of the match.
While the game ended in a 0-0 draw, here’s how the fans reacted on Twitter.
Valverde’s man management clearly the best Barcelona have since Guardiola. Key part of coaching, hopefully it will bring trophies.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) November 22, 2017
Ter Stegen has saved 22 of the 23 last shots on target he has faced with Barcelona. But since he doesn't make acrobatic saves ( like a certain GK we know ) he won't be rated
— Sebastían (@NathansAke) November 22, 2017
Sorry to anyone who watched Barcelona-Juventus that whole time.
— COPA90 US (@COPA90US) November 22, 2017
— Daniella Matar (@DaniellaMatar) November 22, 2017
How does Rakitic put on the Barcelona kit without feeling embarrassed does this man have no shame Maribor level player
— ᵁᴸᵀᴿᴬ® (@UltraAutistic) November 22, 2017
It’s interesting to note that Barcelona are defending as well as Juventus despite doing so much higher up the pitch with much more room behind them. Difficult to understand why this side isn’t acknowledged for its great defensive organization.
— S. Jakobsen (@S_Jakobsen) November 22, 2017