Paulo Dybala hits brace as Juventus recorded a 3-0 win over Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final in Turin on Tuesday night.
Dybala netted twice in the first 45 minutes of action, before Giorgio Chiellini added a third early in the second period as the Italian champions secured a three-goal advantage ahead of the return match at Camp Nou.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was able to select Mario Mandzukic after the Croatian overcame a knee problem, while Leonardo Bonucci, Chiellini, Miralem Pjanic and Dani Alves were all recalled following the club’s Serie A clash with Chievo at the weekend.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique, meanwhile, selected Jeremy Mathieu as part of a three-man defence in Turin, while Javier Mascherano was the player to take the role of Sergio Busquets, who missed out through suspension.
Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were all present in the away side’s XI, however, as the Spanish champions looked to secure a positive result ahead of the return match at Camp Nou.
Juventus should have taken the lead in the third minute when Gonzalo Higuain met an super free kick from Pjanic, but the Argentine’s header was straight into the grateful arms of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The early pressure from the Italian champions was relentless, however, and they made the breakthrough in the seventh minute of action when a cute pass from Juan Cuadrado found Dybala, who fired the ball into the bottom corner with a super finish.
Barcelona did not have a sight of the Juventus goal until the 12th minute when Messi lined up a free kick in a dangerous position, but the Argentine’s effort flew harmlessly over the Italian side’s crossbar.
Andres Iniesta had the away side’s first clear attempt of the night in the 21st minute after breaking into the Juventus box, but Gianluigi Buffon was on hand to make a wonderful save as the home side kept their one-goal lead in tact.
Less than two minutes after Buffon made that excellent stop, Juventus doubled their lead as Dybala found the bottom corner with an inch-perfect finish after Manduzkic had picked out his teammate from a wide position.
Messi had the ball in the back of the Juventus net in the 30th minute after smart work from Luis Suarez, but the goal was disallowed for offside as Barcelona had to endure more frustration at the Juventus Stadium.
Juventus went in search of their third goal in the latter stages of the first period and came close through Pjanic and Higuain, but Barcelona managed to avoid falling further behind as the Spanish champions were left with much to ponder ahead of the second 45 minutes.
Barcelona boss Enrique introduced Andre Gomes in place of Mathieu at the interval, which meant a change of formation for the Catalan giants as they looked to find a route back into the first leg in Turin.
Messi had a golden chance to halve the deficit in the 47th minute after meeting a loose ball on the edge of the Juventus box, but the Argentine sent his low effort wide, before Khedira curled one over the crossbar down the other end.
Neymar sent one over the Juventus crossbar in the 51st minute as Barcelona started to go through the gears, before Iniesta missed the target from a central position during a difficult period for the Italian champions.
Higuain had a wonderful chance to send the home side 3-0 ahead in the 54th minute after finding all sorts of space inside the Barcelona box, but the Argentine could not beat Ter Stegen from close range.
Juventus were purring though and the Italians scored their third in the 55th minute when Chiellini rose above Mascherano inside the Barcelona box to head a corner from Pjanic into the bottom corner via the post.
Luis Suarez had a golden chance to register for Barcelona in the 68th minute after being released by Messi inside the Juventus box, but the striker’s low effort was deflected wide of the far post.
Cuadrado had the ball in the back of the away side’s net 20 minutes from time following another poor piece of defending from Barcelona, but the offside flag was raised in what proved to be an incorrect decision.
Samuel Umtiti came close to meeting a brilliant cross from Messi 10 minutes from time as Barcelona turned the screw, but the centre-back just failed to make contact as the score remained 3-0 entering the final stages at the Juventus Stadium.
The pressure from the Spanish champions continued into the final five minutes and beyond, but Juventus held strong as the Italian champions put one foot in the semi-finals ahead of the return match at Camp Nou next week.
For the second European round running, Barca – who were as defensively suspect as they were in losing 4-0 to Paris St-Germain in the first leg of their last-16 tie – must come back from a heavy away defeat to progress.
However, after their record-breaking achievement to overturn a four-goal deficit against PSG, they will retain hope heading into the return leg at the Nou Camp.