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It’s Confirmed, Juventus Are Not Paris Saint-Germain

A defensive masterclass from Juventus throttled Barcelona and saw them through to the UCL semifinals.

For all the talk regarding what it would take for Barcelona to, once again, turn around a seemingly insurmountable lead, the difference between this return leg and the one against PSG was made immediately evident upon kickoff. Juventus played higher up the pitch, they made Barcelona entirely uncomfortable, they were sophisticatedly physical and they were capable of stringing passes together.

While Barcelona will feel that some calls should’ve been given their way - the referee really didn't care for histrionics or even fouls - this match was by no means controversial in its outcome. Barcelona never really troubled Gianluigi Buffon with their famed attacking trident proving wasteful, none more so than Lionel Messi.

Barcelona attempted 19 shots on the night — only one landed on target and that was in the 31st minute.

In the end, the only thing Barcelona had to show for this match was a collection of cuts, bruises (Messi gave himself a black eye) and frustrations. Juventus, meanwhile, were well-drilled and really should’ve ended the tie with a goal of their own.

If there’s one side in the world that could disrupt the defensive pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, you’d think it’d be the side with the dribbling powers of Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta.

While both Neymar and Iniesta embarked on mazy runs throughout the midfield and on top of the box, neither could breakthrough a Juventus rearguard that seemed to be endlessly reinforced. One run from Neymar saw him beat five or six Juventus defenders as he strode towards the byline, only to find the defenders he initially beat sprinting back and forcing him out for a goal kick. 

Bonucci made five tackles, four interceptions and 10 clearances. Chiellini marked Suarez out of the match and made five tackles, five interceptions and six clearances.

In front of them, Miralem Pjanic was an animal with eight tackles, expertly shielding his defenders before Andrea Barzagli was introduced in the 75th minute. The match pretty much ended there, and Juan Cuadrado and Gonzalo Higuain looked the likeliest candidates to score the game’s only goal.

But that goal never arrived, and Barcelona accepted that a three-goal deficit was simply too much against a streetwise Juventus. Luis Enrique’s final Champions League match in charge of Barcelona wasn’t spoiled, it was tyrannized.