08 December 2020
Juve finished their Champions League group in style on a truly unforgettable European night with a remarkable 3-0 win at the Camp Nou. Barcelona had not lost on home soil in Europe’s elite competition since 2013, but Cristiano came out on top of Lionel Messi in the latest instalment of their seemingly never-ending battle for footballing supremacy. The result clinches first place and avenges the 2-0 loss at Allianz Stadium when the two sides met in October. Such a dominant performance brimming with bravery, determination, technical quality and intelligence could well be a crucial turning point in the season.
CR7 EARLY DOORS
Juve made an aggressive start to the contest at the Camp Nou and were immediately on the front foot. Cristiano had the first chance of the game when he received the ball just inside the box from Weston McKennie, but his weak shot was straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Just moments later, the Portuguese laid the ball off to Danilo, whose powerful effort fizzed just wide. In the 13th minute, Aaron Ramsey got away from two Barcelona players in his own half and released Juan Cuadrado. The Colombian picked out Ronaldo who drove into the box and was fouled by Ronald Araujo. The striker picked himself straight back up and made no mistake, as he drilled the ball down the middle for our opener.
WHAT A GOAL BY MCKENNIE
Taking the lead did not alter the visitors’ approach, as Juve continued to push forward, pass the ball around confidently and close Barcelona down brilliantly. Aaron Ramsey, Cuadrado and McKennie conjured up a delightful move that the hosts’ defence simply had no answer to. The Welshman broke inside from the left and passed to the American on the edge of the box. He picked out the wing-back down the right, whose first-time cross was perfectly volleyed home by McKennie.
BARCA RESPOND BUT JUVE HOLD FIRM
The visitors did have more opportunities to extend their lead as the half wore on, but also had to withstand some pressure. Gianluigi Buffon was called into action to deny Lionel Messi on a couple of occasions, including a low deflected shot from outside the area that the 42-year-old pushed behind for a corner. Alvaro Morata also went close to getting on the scoresheet when his header from a pinpoint Alex Sandro cross looped just over the bar as Juve looked to get a third goal. Andrea Pirlo’s troops went in 2-0 up at half-time, knowing that they needed just one more goal without reply to finish top of the group.
Ramsey thought he had added a third when he bent a left-footed shot towards the far corner only for it to be turned behind by the goalkeeper. Juve were swiftly awarded a penalty for a handball by Clement Lenglet in the 52nd minute after a VAR check. Ronaldo stepped up to double his tally and put the Bianconeri top of the group with his fourth goal of the current Champions League campaign.
There was non-stop action in the second half, but there would prove to be no more goals, despite the hosts rallying, with Antoine Griezmann seeing his header come off the bar. Barca thought they had been awarded a penalty only for the linesman to raise his flag for an offside decision against the French forward. Leonardo Bonucci wheeled away to celebrate what he thought was the fourth goal of the night, but it was correctly ruled out for offside by VAR in the 75th minute. The Bianconeri saw out the result professionally and clinched first place in Group G in style. The Champions League draw for the round of 16 is set to take place on Monday 14 December in Nyon.
BARCELONA 0-3 JUVENTUS
SCORERS: Ronaldo (p) 13, McKennie 21, Ronaldo (p) 52.
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo (Migueza 83), Lenglet (Umtiti 55), Jordi Alba (Junior 55); Pjanic, de Jong; Pedri (Puig 66), Messi, Trincao (Braithwaite 46); Griezmann.
Subs not used: Neto, Pena, Alena, Busquets, Matheus, Konrad, Coutinho.
Buffon; Danilo, de Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado (Bernardeschi 85), McKennie, Arthur (Bentancur 71), Ramsey (Rabiot 71); Morata (Dybala 85), Ronaldo (Chiesa 90+1).*
Subs not used:* Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Dragusin, Frabotta, Portanova, Kulusevski, Da Graca.
REFEREE: Stieler (GER)
ASSISTANTS: Pickel (GER), Gittelman (GER)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Gozubuyuk (NED)
VAR: Dankert (GER), Rohde (GER)
BOOKED: Jordi Alba 27, Ramsey 29, Lenglet 31, Morata 53, Umtiti 60, Danilo 69, Junior 78.