Barcelona secured top spot in Group D, despite putting in a tame performance and being held to a goalless draw by Juventus at the Allianz Stadium.
The Blaugrana, despite having the lion’s share of the possession, could make nothing of it and for all their efforts, couldn’t brek the organization of the Juventus defence. Massimiliano Allegri’s men even attempted more shots at Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal, despite having only 36% of the possession.
The game started off with Lionel Messi on the bench and Luis Suarez being the lone forward in front of a five-man midfield. They couldn’t adjust to this new formation and the second half introduction of Lionel Messi didn’t help the visitors either.
Barcelona have their German shot stopper to thank for helping them secure a point with a fantastic save late in the game to stop Paulo Dybala from scoring what would have essentially been the winner.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7
Called into action three times over the course of the game. Once in the 91st minute, when he made a stunning diving save to deny a low, curling shot from Paulo Dybala headed for the bottom right corner of his goal. That save kept his side in the game and essentially secured top spot in the group.
Nelson Semedo: 7
Used his pace well, made a number of key tackles and wasn’t afraid to have a go at players, completing 2 out of his 3 attempted take ons. A fine display from the young Portuguese, who is slowly but steadily becoming one the finest right-backs in the world.
Gerard Pique: 7
Handled Gonzalo Higuain pretty well and kept him quiet during Juventus’ few forays forward. Cut a resolute figure in defence and took a no-nonsense defensive approach. One of his best games this season and a fine way to return from suspension.
Samuel Umtiti: 8
Barcelona’s best defender on the night. The Frenchman started a bit slow and made a few minor errors, but nothing costly. He maintained a high level of passing accuracy, his distribution was smart and he made a number of recoveries for his side.
Lucas Digne: 7
Another surprise inclusion in the squad ahead of Jordi Alba. Couldn’t contribute much going forward, but defended well, keeping the Juventus attack at bay and did his job.
Ivan Rakitic: 5
A disappointing game from the Croat. Gave the ball away far too often for his usually lofty standards. Nearly cost his side a goal on one occasion. He came close to scoring, hitting the post but besides that, Rakitic just looked a a bit off his game and it seemed as if he wasn’t focusing.
Sergio Busquets: 7
The Spaniard, alongside Iniesta controlled Barcelona’s game in midfield. Always seemed to find the correct pass and didn’t seem to put a foot wrong the entire night. Displayed his flair and awareness by getting out of some tricky places with some skill.
Andres Iniesta: 7
Tried and tried, but could never create anything substantial for the attackers upfront. However, he did contribute a lot defensively as well and ensured that his side retained most of the possession. Arguably the best Barcelona player on the pitch, he was taken off late in the game to a standing ovation from the away fans.
Looked a little lost in what seemed to be an advanced role. However, he couldn’t make a huge impact on the game. Ran as much as he could, but his lack of creativity was evident. Deploying him in his usual box-to-box role would perhaps have been better.
Gerard Deulofeu: 6
Did well while he was on the pitch. Made good decisions with the ball and his pace looked like it could cause the Juventus defence some probelms. Unfortunately, he had to be taken off to make way for Messi. Perhaps Valverde would’ve been better off subbing Suarez.
Luis Suarez: 5
Suarez would’ve loved to get on the scoresheet after finally ending his drought against Leganes last week. However, he could do nothing to trouble Allegri’s defence. Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini barely gave the Uruguayan a sniff of goal.
Lionel Messi: 6
His absence from the starting XI isn’t something we’ve seen often in the past, so it undoubtedly came as a big shock. The Argentine was brought on for Deulofeu in the 56th minute, but wasn’t able to influence the game at all.