The 2015 UEFA Champions League finalists did battle in the 5th game week of the UCL 2017/18 Group Stage. The two top teams in Group D clashed at the Allianz Stadium, in a tie to establish who’d finish top of the group. The elite duo could only muster up a 0-0 draw, a draw that confirms Barcelona’s place in the knockout stages. However, for Juventus, they will now need the last game of the group stage to confirm their place in the next round.
Here are 3 talking points from the Juventus 0-0 Barcelona draw.
Gerard Deulofeu fails to take his chance
At Barcelona, first-team opportunities are few and far between. It’s almost impossible to displace one of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez or Ousmane Dembele. So, when you get the chance to start a high-profile game, you must take it, Gerard Deulofeu didn’t.
Against Juventus, The Spaniard only completed 24 passes, created 1 chance, completed 1 dribble and lost the ball once. This season the 23-year-old hasn’t done much either, he’s played 472 minutes of La Liga football and only scored 1 goal. It’s fair to say that the Deulofeu will certainly be going back on loan in January.
Paulo Dybala underwhelming
Lionel Messi’s successor didn’t do much to live up to that high praise. In his now preferred position of #10, Dybala played in behind Gonzalo Higuain seeking to link up with him and create for him. Instead, the 24-year-old struggled to break down an already porous Barcelona defence. Dybala was meant to take this game by the scruff of the neck and prove why Messi’s time is up, but he couldn’t deliver.
Throughout the game, Dybala completed 2 dribbles, 38 passes, attempted 4 shots on goal and was dispossessed 3 times. All in all, Juve’s star man once again failed to produce on the biggest of stages.
Lionel Messi benched
The last manager to bench Lionel Messi nearly lost his job over it. So, we’ll see how long Ernesto Valverde lasts after this costly decision. This decision looks worse when you consider Messi’s on-going contractual issues, the Argentinean responded with a subdued performance. In six weeks’ time, Lionel Messi will be allowed to negotiate a pre-contract with other clubs. Barcelona’s greatest ever player may be about to leave the Nou Camp and it might not take the world record fee we thought it would.
The 30-year-old came on in the 55th minute, with the game deadlocked at 0-0. However, he didn’t even look bothered enough to try and influence the game. Instead, he laboured around the final third waiting to pounce on any loose passes or deflections. Clearly, something behind the scenes is wrong and Messi is portraying that with his attitude on the pitch.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace last night to set the record for the most UCL goals in a calendar year, while Lionel Messi drew a blank, again.