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Juventus through to Champions League semi-finals (As It Happened)

Juventus has made a reservation in the semi-finals of the Champions League after the clash with Barcelona in the second leg of their quarter-final at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

The Italian champions recorded a 3-0 victory in the first leg on home soil last week, and a goalless draw in the return fixture has seen them comfortably progress to the final four of the competition.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique reverted back to a 4-3-3 formation at Camp Nou, with Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba selected in the full-back positions. Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, meanwhile, provided the midfield support for Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in the final third of the field.

As for Juventus, head coach Massimiliano Allegri kept faith with the same XI that started the first leg in Turin, which meant that Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado again operated in the wide positions in support of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain.

It was the visitors that had the first opportunity of the match in the fourth minute, but Higuain could only scuff his effort wide after a clever free kick from Miralem Pjanic had found the Argentine in a dangerous position.

Higuain had another chance in the 13th minute after the ball fell perfectly for the centre-forward inside the Barcelona box, but his strike was over the crossbar as the home side again looked nervy at the back.

Both teams had opportunities in the 15th minute during an end-to-end period of the match, but Rakitic struck one over the Juventus crossbar from a dangerous position, before Cuadrado missed the target down the other end of the field as the visitors continued to threaten an away goal.

Messi had a glorious chance – the best of the first period – to send Barcelona ahead in the 19th minute when he was allowed the freedom of the Juventus box, but the Argentine somehow sent his low effort wide of Gianluigi Buffon’s post.

Neymar and Roberto then took it in turns to have attempts for the Spanish champions, although neither could hit the target as a brilliant opening 23 minutes somehow produced no goals.

Buffon was forced into a smart save to keep out a powerful Messi strike in the 31st minute as Barcelona pressed for the opening goal of the night, although Juventus were always dangerous when they had the chance to counter-attack.

Indeed, Higuain had another brilliant opportunity late in the first period when a wonderful pass from Pjanic had released the Argentine into a dangerous position, but the former Real Madrid striker could not beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the score remained goalless at the end of the first period.

Enrique resisted the temptation to make any changes at the interval, despite the fact that his team needed to score at least three times in the second period to stand a chance of staying in the competition.

Cuadrado had a chance to send Juventus ahead on the night in the 50th minute when a pass from Higuain released the Colombian international, but his effort was just wide of the far post, before Neymar missed the target with a powerful effort down the other end.

Dancing feet from Messi then created another opportunity for the home side, but the Argentine sent his effort into the stands, before Ter Stegen was forced to keep out a near-post strike from Cuadrado as the end-to-end nature of the match continued.

Messi again came close in the 56th minute after working more space in a forward position, but the Argentine’s effort was deflected just wide of the far post, before the forward missed the crossbar with a free kick in a dangerous position.

Paco Alcacer replaced Rakitic just before the hour as Enrique looked for more in the final third of the field, and it was full steam ahead for the home side as they started to commit seven, eight players forward every time that they had the ball.

Juventus had a couple of half-chances in the 63rd minute, but Dybala just failed to meet a cross from Higuain, before Pjanic had a long-range effort deflected wide as Barcelona just about stayed in the quarter-final.

Messi had another opportunity in the 67th minute after Buffon had fumbled a high ball, but the 29-year-old turned his volley over the crossbar as Barcelona passed up another chance to breach the Juventus defence, before Roberto saw his curling effort just miss the far post.

Gerard Pique moved into a centre-forward position for Barcelona in the final 10 minutes, and the Spanish champions left themselves exposed in a defensive position as they desperately searched for some late goals.

Mario Lemina came close to registering for Juventus late on to secure what would have been a famous win at Camp Nou, but it mattered little in terms of the tie as the Italian giants booked their spot in the semi-finals of the competition alongside Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and AS Monaco.

#Buffon has never conceded a #Messi goal 💪 #UCL ⚽️⛔️ #Juventus ⚫️⚪️

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#Juventus have conceded 2 goals in 10 #UCL games ⚽️💪 #Juve ⚫️⚪️⚫️ #Buffon #Bonucci #Chiellini

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That sort of night for #Messi and #Barcelona so far… #UCL

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Dani Alves consoles #Neymar… #Respect 🇧🇷 #Barcelona #Juventus #UCL ⚽️

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About Newton Arunaye

Manchester United Fan. Nigerian Blogger, Social Media Expert, Online Music Promoter.

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