Lionel Messi was the star of the show while the much-improved Antoine Griezmann impressed as Barcelona beat Juventus 2-0 on Wednesday.
Barcelona were quick off the blocks, as Miralem Pjanic and Antoine Griezmann came close to giving the visitors the lead with just three minutes on the clock. The Blaugrana did break the deadlock ten minutes later, as Ousmane Dembele’s long range effort was deflected into the Juventus goal off Federico Bernardeschi.
It was not plain sailing thereafter for Barcelona, though, as Juventus created a number of openings. The hosts, however, were left frustrated each time, either due to their shot being wayward or because Alvaro Morata was denied a goal for being offside, an astonishing three times.
Barcelona take down Ronaldo-less Juventus 😤 pic.twitter.com/fPEFmoZ6IU
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 28, 2020
The pressure eased off Barcelona entirely when Merih Demiral was sent off with five minutes left in regulation time. The win was then rounded off in injury time, as Lionel Messi scored a late penalty after Federico Bernardeschi had fouled Ansu Fati inside the Juventus box. Now in command of the UEFA Champions League Group G, The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Ronald Koeman’s men.
Juventus did pose a bit of threat to the Barcelona defence on Wednesday. However, bar Alvaro Morata’s disallowed goals, the Brazilian was never called into action. With the ball at his feet, he was asked to play a number of long passes, but he completed more passes than not. A tricky yet easy outing.
Sergi Roberto: 7/10
Up against Federico Chiesa on Wednesday, Roberto had a tricky proposition to deal with heading into the game. However, the Italian international just could not manage to get into the game, with Roberto only caught out of position a couple of times. On the ball, he was precise and accurate, misplacing just 3 passes, supporting Ousmane Dembele well down the right flank.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
Coming into the side in place of the suspended Gerard Pique, this was another opportunity for Araujo to impress. That is exactly what the Uruguayan defender did till he was forced off the pitch due to injury. The youngster 3 tackles and lost the ball just twice all while keeping a check on Morata reasonably well. Would be gutted to go off injured.
Clement Lenglet: 7/10
The senior defender at the heart of the Barcelona defence, Lenglet was much-improved against Juventus. The Frenchman won 5 duels, completed 3 interceptions and won 2 tackles, but was a tad bit wasteful with the ball at his feet. Nevertheless, his vertical passes were key during build-up play and he would be glad to have put in a solid shift against Juventus.
Jordi Alba: 7.5/10
One of the most involved players in the game, Alba kept a check on Juan Cuadrado and Dejan Kulusevski, both of whom had poor outings on Wednesday. The Spaniard won 4 duels and cleared the ball from dangerous areas twice. Going forward, he was a constant outlet on the left flank, with his trademark chemistry with Lionel Messi on full display. Could’ve had a goal with a better finish.
Miralem Pjanic: 7/10
Going up against his former side, Pjanic was hot off the gates as he tested ex-teammate Wojciech Szczesny with a long range effort. There were a few instances to forget for the Bosnian, whose error led to a shot from Juventus and he was also dribbled past a couple of times. However, when on song, the ex-Juventus man contained his counterparts well, winning 7 duels.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
Continuing his run in the starting lineup, de Jong showed just why he is a mainstay in midfield for Barcelona and Netherlands. The Dutch international misplaced just one pass all game (!) and opened up play well with his vertical passes. Filled in at centre-back following Araujo’s substitution, proving his defensive credentials quite well with 2 clearances, interceptions and tackles each.
Ousmane Dembele: 7.5/10
Ousmane Dembele's game by numbers vs. Juventus:
100% shot accuracy
66 minutes played
17 total duels
5 take-ons completed
2 shots on target
1 foul won
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 28, 2020
Given a rare chance to impress from the off, Dembele had a game to remember after scoring for a second successive Champions League game. The Frenchman linked up well with Griezmann and Messi, with the latter’s cross-field ball being the assist for his strike. Dembele, though, could have had a brace instead, missing a glorious opportunity later on. Nonetheless, a positive display, this.
Antoine Griezmann: 8/10
Griezmann was once again provided the opportunity to make a case for himself playing in a central role. This time around, the French forward did not disappoint, with the woodwork and not his own mental fortitude being his biggest enemy against Juventus. Created a fine opening as well, but a goal is what he needs to get that confidence back completely.
Starting a second successive game, Pedri made quite an impression after a difficult outing against Real Madrid. The 17-year-old tormented Juan Cuadrado on the night, all while completing 40 of the 42 passes he attempted. He also put in a shift defensively, supporting Alba well with 10 duels won, 3 tackles and 2 interceptions. A gem at Koeman’s disposal.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
The difference maker for Barcelona once again. Messi might still be in search of a goal from open play, but he left his mark on the game by constantly posing a threat to the vulnerable Juventus defence. The Barcelona captain created a game-high 5 chances and on another day, he would have had a hat-trick of assists.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 28, 2020
The one he was credited for, though, was a peach of a cross-field ball, hit first-time towards Dembele. A fantastic Danilo tackle denied Messi a superb goal, but he did get his name on the score sheet when he converted from the spot. Incomparable.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
On for the injured Araujo, Busquets produced a far better performance in Turn than he did versus Real Madrid this past weekend. The veteran midfielder kept things simple in the middle of the park by breaking up play and linking up with the likes of Griezmann and Messi with simple vertical balls – he completed 41/42 attempted passes, including a couple of long balls.
Ansu Fati: 7/10
On for Dembele, Fati posed a great deal of threat in the final quarter of the game. The teenager had a shot blocked before winning the penalty that sealed the deal for Barcelona.
Junior Firpo: N/A
A late introduction in place of Griezmann, Firpo helped see the game out.
Martin Braithwaite: N/A
Introduced at the onset of injury time, Braithwaite did not even touch the ball once.