Juventus 0-0 Barcelona: Catalans confirm qualification
Last Updated: 23/11/17 6:33am
Juventus were left frustrated by Barcelona as they played out an engrossing 0-0 draw in Turin on Wednesday night.
Ernesto Valverde left Lionel Messi on the bench as he wanted to see what his team could do without their No 10 leading the attack, but the answer will have underwhelmed the Barcelona coach.
The two teams played out a cagey first half as neither side wanted to give an inch in an intense encounter, which surprisingly lacked quality in the final third.
Barcelona hit the post when Ivan Rakitic's free-kick avoided everyone on its way to clattering the woodwork with the rebound bouncing off Paulinho's head and going wide.
The Brazil international was booked when he threw himself over Miralem Pjanic's leg in the Juventus box as he looked to win a penalty but the referee spotted the blatant dive and cautioned the former Spurs man.
Lionel Messi was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up by Ernesto Valverde, a sign the weekend clash with Valencia could be more important to his team. Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli returned for Juventus after being rested following Italy’s failure to reach the World Cup.
Juventus' best chance of the opening 45 minutes was made by Paulo Dybala as he collected an Alex Sandro pass midway inside the Barcelona half, before running beyond the defence before viciously striking the ball over from 12 yards.
Valverde eventually called upon Messi in the 56th minute, as he looked for some inspiration for a side who has struggled to create opportunities.
Juventus: Buffon (6), Sandro (6), Barzagli (7), Rugani (7), Benatia (8), Cuadrado (7), Pjanić (6), Khedira (6), Costa (7), Higuaín (6), Dybala (7)
Subs: Bentacur (6), Marchisio (6), Matuidi (6)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Semedo (7), Pique (7), Rakitic (8), Busquets (7), Iniesta (8), Suarez (6), Paulinho (6), Deulofeu (6), Digne (7), Umtiti (7)
Subs: Messi (7), Alba (6)
Man of the match: Ivan Rakitic
The Argentine almost made the difference when his sumptuous ball over the top found its way to Lucas Digne after Juan Cuadrado fell to the ground, but the France international strangely decided to cross rather than shoot when through on goal and his weak pass was easily cleared by the home defence.
Gianluigi Buffon did not have to make a single save of note on his return to the Juventus line-up, a sign of how little Barcelona troubled their hosts.
Dybala came close to winning the game in injury time when his first-time left-foot shot from the edge of the area forced Marc-Andre ter Stegen to get down quickly to his right and turn the effort wide.
Match of the match - Ivan Rakitic
In a game devoid of chances it is not surprising that a man who hit the post was the best on the pitch, but his free-kick was a bit of a fluke and it was more the fact he was one of the players who ensured Barcelona were stable through the middle in a tough encounter with one of the best in Europe. Barcelona didn't need to be spectacular in Turn but thanks to Croatia international they were solid enough to see the job through without much hassle.
Barcelona visit second-placed Valencia on Sunday evening, live on Sky Sports Football.
Meanwhile, Juventus host Crotone on Sunday evening.