Juventus 0-0 Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Player Ratings

Zzz…

Marc André ter Stegen (7/10)

A fairly decent outing for the German. His distribution was on point for most of the game and he made some excellent saves during the course of the game.

Nélson Semedo (7/10)

The Portuguese full-back was impressive throughout the game. He constantly pressured Alex Sandro and kept the Brazilian in check. His offensive output was good while his defensive presence was solid.

Gerard Piqué (7/10)

Gerard Piqué had a quiet night which is a good thing. The Catalan was imposing in defence and cut out almost every single threat in the Barcelona box.

Samuel Umtiti (6/10)

Umtiti was a little off on the night and despite some scary moments, the Frenchman got away without any consequence. His passing was off and his positioning was suspect, but he got better as the game went on.

Lucas Digne (6/10)

Digne was a surprise inclusion ahead of Jordi Alba but was solid and impressive for the most part. Despite his lack of offensive output, he did enough in defence.

Sergio Busquets (8/10)

Despite some stray passes, Busquets brought his A-game on the night. Also, he destroyed Miralem Pjanic.

Andrés Iniesta (7/10)

Iniesta was great in attack and pressed the opposition like a hound, often coming to the aid of his defender.

Ivan Rakitić (5/10)

Every time the ball went to Rakitić, you could feel the game slow down like a terrapin. His runs were slow, his dribbles were pointless, and his passes lacked purpose. Apart from a brilliant set-piece delivery, the Croatian offered very little to the game.

Paulinho (6/10)

I want to say that Paulinho was terrible, but he wasn’t. He was just not playing in a role he understands. You don’t ask a box-to-box midfielder to play as a striker.

Gerard Deulofeu (6/10)

A fairly decent outing with very little to show.

Luis Suárez (7/10):

Forced out wide, Suárez was pretty ineffective for most of the game. However, he made a few runs that destabilised the opposition’s defence.

Lionel Messi (NA):

Not enough playing time.

Jordi Alba (NA):

Not enough playing time.

Ernesto Valverde (5/10)

Valverde has made some unorthodox selections in his time with Barcelona, but this one was probably as perplexing as they come.

Valverde explains why he left Lionel Messi out against Juventus

Ernesto Valverde raised eyebrows on Wednesday night, opting to leave Lionel Messi out of his starting line-up for the clash against Juventus in Turin.

It was a massive call by the Barca coach and it worked out as his side drew 0-0 with Juventus to secure their spot in the knockout stages.

Valverde spoke after the game and explained why he had left the little genius on the bench

“No, Messi wasn’t suffering a knock – we just decided that for once he might rest although the idea was always that we’d keep it tight without him and then let him try and open up the game in the second half.

“Leaving Messi out was difficult but he has played a lot this season and today we saw a long and tough contest so we thought a rest would do him good.”

Messi came on in the 55th minute so will be pretty fresh for Sunday’s crucial clash against Valencia.

It’s been a good week for Barca, beating Leganes at the weekend, getting the result they needed in Turin – now can they make it a great week at Mestalla on Sunday?

Juventus 0-0 Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Match Review

Recap of the action from Barcelona’s scoreless draw against Juventus.

Barcelona secured the solitary point in Turin that was needed for the Catalans to secure first place in Group D. The scoreless draw will not go down as one of the better games of football this season, but Ernesto Valverde seemingly went into the game going for the point and make the last group stage match against Sporting a mere formality from Barcelona’s standpoint.

For the first time this season, not counting the Copa del Rey match against Real Murcia, Lionel Messi did not start for Valverde’s Barcelona. The Argentine was on the bench for this one, while Paulinho and Gerard Deulofeu started alongside Luis Suarez in attack. The only other surprise in the Barcelona lineup was that Lucas Digne began the match over Jordi Alba on the left side of the defense.

The match started in very lively fashion, with both sides looking to attack in numbers and looking strong in defense. The hosts were the first to threaten, as Douglas Costa fired from deep in the penalty area after a quick Juventus counter attack, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made the strong save. Barcelona looked threatening in attack, but breaching the last Juve line proved difficult. As a result, the only two shots Barcelona took in the early going came from distance, but Paulinho was both times off the mark.

Both teams looked solid in defense, especially Juventus, but in quick succession around the quarter hour mark both teams made mistakes that resulted in scoring chances. First, Juan Cuadrado misplaced a header back to Gianluigi Buffon, but from a very tough angle Andres Iniesta couldn’t threaten. On the other side just moments later, first Iniesta and then Samuel Umtiti made rare turnovers resulting in a Paulo Dybala shot from the right side, but ter Stegen was again in the perfect position to make the save.

Barcelona came within inches of scoring in the 22nd minute. Iniesta won a free kick a long way from Buffon from which Ivan Rakitić looked to set up one of his teammates in the danger area. But his long ball went untouched and hit Buffon’s left post. The rebound hit Paulinho, but with no time to react the Brazilian couldn’t direct the header on goal.

Neither side was able to create much over the next minutes, but there was still plenty of action on the pitch as both teams looked to play quick, attractive football. Just after the opening 30 minutes play was stopped by referee Milorad Mažić as not one, but two Barcelona defenders were taken out by Cuadrado. The Colombian pushed Digne under the oncoming Umtiti, leaving both down. Digne was fairly quick to get up, but Umtiti needed more time, clenching his knee while receiving assistance, but after some time and a few wobbly steps he too was able to continue.

Oftentimes Juventus looked the more dangerous team on the pitch, but apart from the two early shots by Costa and Dybala, Juve couldn’t create many scoring chances. Barcelona wasn’t faring much better on the other end, but on a couple occasions, which often included a great run from Nelson Semedo, the “only” thing that was missing was a slightly more accurate final pass.

Even though they didn’t especially excel, Barcelona didn’t look bad in attack, but the Catalans didn’t manage a shot on goal until the 43rd minute when Deulofeu sent a hopeful shot from the edge of the area that Buffon saved easily. Juventus countered quickly with Dybala playing catalyst by starting the quick attack. The Argentine was moments later inside the Barcelona area taking the shot, but he shot over the crossbar.

Neither manager made any changes to their personnel, but several players started to warm up immediately after the break, including Messi who was stretching on the sideline. On the pitch, the tactical battle continued, but Barcelona threated first. Suarez fired a dangerous free kick from 25 yards out destined for the top corner, but a slight redirection in the wall by Andrea Barzagli sent the ball just over the bar, resulting in the first corner kick for either side, but Barcelona couldn’t threaten from it or from the one moments later.

But Barcelona continued to push forward, pinning Juventus back, looking to finally somehow break through the Juventus back-line. Barcelona tried to break through either flank or through the middle, but with no luck. In the 56th minute Valverde brought on a weapon from the bench – Messi, who replaced Deulofeu.

As it has so often during previous seasons, Juve’s defense looked impenetrable, even without its talisman Giorgio Chiellini who was out injured. Even with Messi on the pitch there was a certain lack of rhythm in attack and Juventus were able to stop most Barcelona attacks without much fuss. Barcelona did have a great chance to open the scoring in the 67th minute when Messi brilliantly, with some help from Cuadrado, found the onrushing Digne. One-on-one with Buffon, the Frenchman opted against the shot but instead went looking for Suarez in the middle, but the pass was intercepted and the excellent opportunity went begging.

Valverde waited to make his second substitution until the 82nd minute. To a standing ovation, Inesta was taken off the pitch for some well-deserved rest before a massing fixture against Valencia. He was replaced by Jordi Alba to play in midfield – and he quickly made a mistake in possession that led to a shot off target by Juventus.

Both teams appeared to have hit the cruise control button late in the game, neither willing to risk much as a draw was more than enough for Barcelona while Juventus would still control their own fate for second place. But with Barcelona pulling back, Juve went forward, hopeful for a shot that would result in win and leave Juventus with an outside chance at first place. In added time Juventus did get their chance for the winning goal, with Dybala curling a shot from the edge of the area, but ter Stegen brilliantly dove to his right to preserve the point for the Catalans.

Barcelona still have one game left in the Champions League before the competition breaks for winter, but expect heavy rotation as Barcelona have secured first place. On Sunday, however, expect Valverde to field his best available team against Valencia.

Ter Stegen’s amazing record after Barcelona’s draw with Juventus

Proof that the goalkeeper is almost unbeatable

Another game and another clean sheet for Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Barcelona held Juventus to a 0-0 draw in Turin.

It’s a great result for Barca that sends them into the knockout stages as group winners with a game to spare.

Ter Stegen was again called into action against Juventus but the Italian champions could not find a way past the German, to be fair not many have this season.

Another clean sheet against Valencia at the weekend would be superb but there’s no doubt Ter Stegen will have a tough game with Simone Zaza and Rodrigo Moreno both in top form.

Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: Final Score 0-0, Barça qualify for Round of 16 with away draw

Not a great result, but not a bad one either

Barcelona have qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League and all but secured first place in their group with a game to spare despite a 0-0 draw with Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday night. The Blaugrana were the better team for much of the match, but they lacked productivity in front of goal and couldn’t find a winner.

FIRST HALF

Barça didn’t have a bad first half, but they didn’t have a great one either. The Blaugrana had more of the ball and did some really nice passing at times, but they couldn’t find the decisive pass in the final third. That’s when not having Lionel Messi really hurt the Catalans, and their only real scoring chance came on a set piece when Ivan Rakitic hit a free kick straight to the post.

Juventus had their moments as well with Paulo Dybala involved in everything good the Italians did, but Marc-André ter Stegen came through when needed and kept the score tied.

At halftime, a decent performance from Barça needed a spark to maybe get the win. If only they had someone on the bench…

SECOND HALF

Messi came on after 55 minutes, and Barça began to dominate the game, constantly bringing danger to the Juventus defense and forcing the hosts to defend deep inside their half and not have any threat on the counter. Messi had a dangerous free kick that went just over the bar, and he created a golden chance with an incredible pass from midfield, but Lucas Digne decided to pass instead of going for it himself and wasted the opportunity.

As we approached the final 15 minutes Barça looked closer and closer to a goal, but Juventus decided to give it a go and went forward as well, though they didn’t create any chances. What we had in the final five minutes was a dull affair, with both teams looking to nullify each other and not concede.

In the end, a 0-0 draw at Juventus isn’t a bad result against such a strong team. We played 55 good minutes without Messi, and had a couple of great opportunities with him. Could it be better? Sure, but we lost 3-0 there not too long ago. I call that progress.


Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitic, Busquets; Deulofeu (Messi), Paulinho, Iniesta (Alba); Suárez

Goals: None

Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Benatia, Rugani, Alex Sandro; Pjanic (Bentancur), Khedira; Cuadrado (Marchisio), Dybala, Costa (Matuidi); Higuaín

Goals: None

Lionel Messi Will NOT Start vs. Juventus, But He’s Not Injured

Ernesto Valverde has taken quite a bold step

In a surprising move, to say the least, Ernesto Valverde has decided to keep Lionel Messi out of the starting XI in FC Barcelona’s big UEFA Champions League match against Juventus.

Thankfully, it’s not because of any injury concerns, says journalist Gerard Romero. He says it is a “technical decision.” and Messi is resting up for Barcelona’s huge clash against Valencia on Sunday.

If so, that’s one hell of a bold move from Valverde, but there is logic to it. Barcelona are almost assured a spot in the knockout stages, and a draw tonight would be enough to win the group outright.

Meanwhile, Valencia are flying high and pose a serious threat to the Blaugrana in La Liga, just four points behind.

Still, this is not something you’d expect… and let’s not forget Barça are not assured of anything in the Champions League yet.

Juventus vs. Barcelona, 2017 Champions League: CONFIRMED Lineups, Live Game Thread

Lineups, television and streaming options, and full coverage of Olympiacos vs Barcelona in the Champions League. Join the conversation!

MATCH INFO

Preview: Juventus vs. Barcelona, Champions League Round 5

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 9:45pm local time, 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7:45pm (UK), 3:45pm ET, 12:45pm PT (USA), 1:15am IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), Canal+ Sport 1 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 1 (India)

Online streaming: WatchESPN, Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA), BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


LINEUPS

Juventus

Starting XI: Buffon; Benatia, Barzagli, Rugani; Cuadrado, Pjanić. Khedira, Sandro; Costa, Higuain, Dybala

Bench: Szczęsny, De Sciglio, Marchisio, Asamoah, Bentancur, Matuidi, Mandžukič

Barcelona

Starting XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Digne; Rakitić, Busquets, Iniesta; Paulinho, Messi, Deulofeu

Bench: Cillessen, Vermaelen, Vidal, Alba, Suarez, Messi, Alcacer


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

If you haven’t already, sign up for an SB Nation account and join the conversation on Barca Blaugranes, where we’ll have full coverage of every Barcelona match this season, with breaking news, opinion, and tactical discussion.

FC Barcelona Offers Assistance to Sevilla Coach Eduardo Berizzo, Who Has Cancer

Sadly, Barça have experience with this.

The sad news that Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo has cancer shocked the footballing world, but it’s also prompted many teams and players to step forward and offer help and support.

One of them is FC Barcelona, who has offered to help and support Berizzo using their medical team if necessary.

“Barça’s president has called me, offering all the experience of their medical team. I think it’s fair for me to mention this,” Sevilla president José Castro said.

Sadly, Barça have experience with this, in the cases of Éric Abidal and Tito Vilanova. Abidal was a player who was struck with cancer, rehabbed, came back and won the Champions League, then had the cancer reemerge and beat it again.

Vilanova was Barcelona’s assistant coach and then head coach, but his one season in charge was marred by frequent absence due to throat cancer. He was able to beat it, but once again, the cancer reemerged and he had to resign from coaching before the start of his second season to focus on treatment. Tragically, he died from the disease later that year.

We all hope Berizzo is able to recuperate.

Juventus vs. Barcelona live stream: Lineups, Kickoff time, TV listings, How to watch Champions League online

Barça play a HUGE European game tonight, and you just can’t miss it

Welcome back, Champions League! After the horror that is the international break, the best cup competition in Europe returns tonight for Barcelona, and the Blaugrana travel to Italy for a HUGE game against Juventus. And this is one you can’t miss.

This is a really, really, big match for the Catalan giants who need a point to qualify and three to win the group with a game to spare. Juventus don’t lose at home that often, and they destroyed Barça the last time these two teams played at the Allianz Stadium.

Barça come into this match on a 17-game unbeaten streak, but it’s safe to say they haven’t really faced a great opponent to this point. Juventus tonight and Valencia on Sunday, both away from home, are great opponents that will truly test where this team is.

Thankfully Barça have Lionel Messi, and you always have a good chance to win when Messi is playing. He loves these big games, and after scoring for the first time against the legendary Gianluigi Buffon in the first meeting between them this season, Leo is more confident facing one of the greatest goalkeepers in history.

This will be both fun and nervous at the same time, but it’s a must-watch game. Please don’t miss it.


MATCH INFO

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 8:45pm (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7:45pm (UK), 2:45pm ET, 11:45am PT (USA), 1:15 IST (India, Thursday)

Venue: Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Television: Fox Sports 1 (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), SuperSport 6 (Nigeria), TSN4 (Canada), SONY TEN 2 (India)

Online streaming: Fox Sports GO, WatchESPN (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), TSN GO (Canada), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)

(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)


LINEUPS

Lineups will be posted when announced.

Chiellini ruled out for Juventus against Barcelona in the Champions League

The hosts have been dealt a blow ahead of kick-off

Juventus have been dealt a blow ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash with Barcelona as Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out due to injury.

The centre-back had been expected to feature but will sit this one out due to a thigh problem.

The news will be a boost to Barca who only need a draw to secure top spot in Group D.

Medhi Benatia is expected to come in for the Italy international although Massimiliano Allegri could use Daniele Rugani.

How will Barca get on tonight? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!