HT: Juventus dominating in Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty and a spectacular Weston McKennie volley have given Juventus the 2-0 half-time lead away to Barcelona.

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Both teams were already qualified for the Round of 16, so this was a head-to-head for first place. As Barca won 2-0 in Turin, with Cristiano Ronaldo ruled out at the time by COVID-19, Juve had to get the victory at Camp Nou with three clear goals, or two clear goals by any two-goal margin other than 2-0.

CR7 and Messi hadn’t faced off on the same pitch for over two years, ever since the Portuguese star moved to Turin. Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral missed out, while Barca were without Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele.

Ronaldo tested Marc-Andre Ter Stegen early on and Danilo blasted wide, but Ronald Araujo got into a tangle when trying to tackle CR7 in the area and gave away a penalty. Ronaldo fired it quite central, counting on Ter Stegen picking a side first, putting Juventus into the lead.

The Bianconeri were buoyant and doubled their lead with an excellent team move. Weston McKennie spread the play down the right for Juan Cuadrado, Ronaldo’s movement drew away two defenders, allowing the space for McKennie’s acrobatic volley from six yards. It was the first time ever that Barcelona had conceded two goals at home in the opening 20 minutes of a Champions League tie.

Messi tried to immediately fight back, Gigi Buffon getting down quickly to fingertip the daisy-cutter round the post. Alvaro Morata had a shot charged down by Miralem Pjanic’s arm, but it was too low and tight to the body to be considered handball for another penalty.

Barca also had penalty appeals waved away for McKennie’s challenge on Messi, who got the shot anyway and forced a Buffon save.

The 2-0 result is not enough, and Juve need one more to take top spot from the Blaugrana.

Barcelona 0-2 Juventus (Half-Time)

Ronaldo pen 13 (J), McKennie 20 (J)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Lenglet, Araujo, Jordi Alba; De Jong, Pjanic; Trincao, Griezmann, Pedri; Messi

Juventus: Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Arthur, McKennie, Ramsey; Morata, Cristiano Ronaldo

Ref: Stieler (GER)

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