A clash of European giants in the Champions League tonight, as the reigning Serie A champions travel to Spain to face Barcelona. Both sides are already through to the knockout stages of the competition, so this game will be a battle for the top sport in Group G. Barca will have the advantage, as a draw will keep them top. In fact Juventus will have to win by three goals or more if they are to claim first place, a tough challenge indeed.
As if you need another reason to get excited about this match we will also finally be getting the Messi and Ronaldo face off we missed out on in the reverse fixture. Ronaldo was forced to isolate due to receiving a positive Covid test prior to the game and had to watch his side be beaten 2-0. With the talent on either side it should be a fascinating contest for sure.
Harry Buckett will be taking you through the action.
KICK OFF Barcelona get us underway.
5′ Both sides just feeling each other out in the opening moments. There’s been some excellent passing from both teams, especially when Juventus are playing out from the back. Looks like we are in for a bit of a technical masterclass.
8′ Cristiano Ronaldo picks up the ball on the edge of the box and chooses to shoot, rather than play through Juan Guadrado. It’s straight at Marc-André Ter Stegen and a is simple save for the German international. Poor decision making as Guadrado was the much better option, and from his reaction he knows it too.
12′ PENALTY (JUV) Ronald Araújo is penalised for bundling over Ronaldo in the area. A very soft penalty for me, the challenge looks more of a 50/50 that Araújo won. With there being no clear and obvious error, VAR will not be overturning the decision.
13′ GOAL (BAR 0-1 JUV) Ronaldo converts the penalty, firing straight down the middle.
18′ Barcelona on the front foot for a long period however they just can’t find that one pass to unlock the Juventus defence. Juventus making sure they have plenty of men back in the box, allowing very little options for the Spanish sides attack.
20′ GOAL (BAR 0-2 JUV) What a start this has been for Juventus. A nice passage of passing finishes when Guadrado chips the ball across the penalty box for Weston McKennie to acrobatically volley into the net. Not good enough from Barca. Miralem Pjanić seems to just give up and stop tracking back, leaving space for them to attack into. Araújo and Clément Lenglet both come for the ball as it is crossed, giving McKennie all the space in the world to receive the ball. A well worked goal from Juventus, but absolutely woeful from a Barcelona perspective.Embed from Getty Images
22′ SAVE Gianluigi Buffon is quick to get down low to deny Messi’s driven strike from 18 yards out.
23′ Should be another penalty to Juventus. Pjanić uses his arm to block the ball but the referee waves away the shouts for handball. It was much more of a penalty than the first one, perhaps this decision balances them out.
27′ YELLOW Frankie De Jong is brought down by Aaron Ramsey but it is Jordi Alba who gets the yellow card, after his constant questioning of why the referee hadn’t originally booked Ramsey.
28′ YELLOW Ramsey is now cautioned after a flailing arm catches Lenglet in mid air
30′ YELLOW Now it’s Lenglet being shown the yellow card. It looked more like a 50/50, much like the penalty. Seems as though every time any contact is made and someone goes down, a foul is given.
36′ SAVE Messi plays a one two with Alba and goes for goal first time. He can’t direct it in either of the corners and it ends up bouncing straight at Buffon. Best passage of play of the game so far for Barcelona, more of that and they have a chance of kickstarting a comeback.Embed from Getty Images
42′ Barcelona seem almost afraid to shoot. They pile the pressure on the Juventus defence but just as it looks as if they are about to strike the ball they make just one more pass. The move ends with Sergiño Dest’s curling ball going out for a goal kick. A wasted passage of play from the Spanish giants.
45+1 Pedri receives the ball out wide and looks to slide it across to Messi. His heels are clipped and he is knocked off balance, resulting in his shot being comfortable saved. The referee doesn’t give it and VAR agrees after a quick review. Yet again it looks like the wrong decision is made. Messi is very clearly knocked off balance, and eventually to the ground by the contact, preventing him from capitalising on a great goal scoring opportunity.
HALF TIME Barcelona 0-2 JuventusEmbed from Getty Images
An entertaining first half to this contest, with flashes of controversy coming in the form of three questionable penalty decisions. Barcelona have been pushing for a goal for a big proportion of the half, but can’t find a gap in the Juventus defence. Messi has been able to add that creative flair they need at times and looked by far their most threatening player. Juventus have worked the ball forward well, and have been assisted by their oppositions poor defending. They need just one more goal to climb up to that desired top spot.
46′ And we are back underway at the Camp Nou. Barcelona make one change.
49′ SAVE Incredible stop from Ter Stegen. It looked as if the ball was destined to nestle in the back of the net. Aaron ramsey cut inside onto his left foot and curled it towards the far corner. The palm of Ter Stegen is what denies a third goal.
50′ PENALTY (JUV) Well now play has been brought back to moments before Ramsey’s shot and a penalty has been given. The ball struck Lenglet’s hand just before it fell to the Welshman’s feet. After checking it over on the monitor the referee points to the spot.
52′ GOAL (BAR 0-3 JUV) Ronaldo smacks the ball into the bottom left corner giving Ter Stegen no chance. If it stays as it is, Juventus will top the group. It’s now or never now for Barca who need to kick their performance up a few gears to pose a threat.Embed from Getty Images
54′ YELLOW Alvaro Morata is shown the yellow card for kicking the ball away after a free kick was given.
58′ CROSSBAR Antione Griezmann rises the highest to flick Messi’s free kick onto the top of the bar. The most involvement Griezmann has had all game and he comes so close with that looping header.
59′ YELLOW Samuel Umtiti is booked for a late challenge on Morata.
60′ Pjanić has another chance go begging after his volleyed effort bounces wide of the post.
65′ CHANCE Barca coming so close again. Messi links up well with De Jong on the edge of the box, giving him the chance to have another first time effort. This one is better than his previous attempts and Buffon is forced to parry it back into danger. Martin Braithwaite springs into life and tries to smash the ball into the net on the rebound but a phenomenal challenge from Matthijs de Ligt sees the ball go high over the bar.
69′ YELLOW Danilo is booked after he clatters into Riqui Puig.
71′ SUBS (JUV) Ramsey and Arthur Melo are off for Adrein Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur
73′ PENALTY (BAR) The referee points to the spot after De Ligt goes straight through the back of Griezman.
74′ VAR DECISION (NO PENALTY) The decision is overturned. Griezman was offside when he received the ball and was fouled. Painful for Barca who thought they had a way back into this game
75′ GOAL (BAR 0-4 JUV) It should be over now. A whipped corner is headed back across goal by Ronaldo and bundled over the line by Leonardo Bonucci. Just after Barca thought they were going to get back into the game, they are put another goal down.Embed from Getty Images
76′ VAR DECISION (NO GOAL) VAR signals that Bonucci was in fact offside and the goal will not stand. There can be no complaints here as Bonnucci is definitely not onside and Ronaldo is the man that played the ball, rather than Griezman It remains Barcelona 0-3 Juventus
80′ It’s another tame effort from distance that Pjanić can’t direct goalwards. His decisions to shoot from range have been a bit of a waste of Barcelona’s possession, with none of them ever causing any problems for Buffon.
85′ CLOSE Messi makes something out of nothing, shifting the ball onto his left foot and striking from distance. It’s close but not close enough, curling past the wrong side of the post.
86′ SUBS (JUV) Morata and Guadrado make way for Paulo Dyabala and Federico Bernardeschi.
89′ SAVE Another great stop from Buffon. Griezman flicks the ball into the air and Messi lets fly with a downwards volley. Buffon holds onto the the ball and in turn holds onto his clean sheet.
90+1 SUB (JUV) Ronaldo is replaced by Federico Chiesa
FULL TIME Barcelona 0-3 JuventusEmbed from Getty Images
Juventus progress through to the knockout stages as winners of Group G after a professional victory over Barcelona. The Spanish side really struggle to break down the opposition’s defence and despite having twenty shots at goal, felt like they barely threatened. Messi was bright light in a very dark Barcelona team, offering an attacking outlet and being involved in relatively every Barca chance. Both sides will be eagerly awaiting the second round draw on December 14th.