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Wednesday April 19 2017
The Comeback Killers

Juventus proved against Barcelona that they are the real deal in the Champions League, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.

They were never going to become the second victims of a Catalan lightning strike. Juventus have been snuffing out the foolish dreams of their rivals for a century and more. Hopes of another “remuntada” were returned to sender on Wednesday night.

From the outset, Max Allegri’s side delivered a statement of intent with an early pressing game that said they had not made the trip to Spain to be one more sacrificial lamb. They would fall back in due course, but everything they did smacked of a professional confidence that they would see their mission accomplished. This was the A-Team carrying out a clinical hit job on foreign soil.

It was a night when, bit by bit, the Bianconeri smothered the life out of Luis Enrique’s side, who had run out of ideas long before the final whistle blew. He had said pre-match that his team needed five goals if they hoped to make it through. But La Vecchia Signora only concedes that number of strikes once in a lifetime - or maybe less often than that.

Some may struggle to appreciate the art of defence but, if they opened their eyes, they would have seen the revelation. Every single player for the Turin giants put in the kind of effort that made it almost impossible to break them down. When Neymar or Leo Messi beat one player, another and another and another popped up to block his path. They formed a black-and-white assault course none of the Blaugrana’s stellar cast came close to completing.

The Serie A champions were resolute and professional at the back, but also cool when they did get possession. The final ball failed them on occasions, but time after time it looked like they would soon send Juan Cuadrado speeding away for a goal. That would have been the icing on a cake which surely tasted pretty sweet to Beppe Marotta and company already.

There was a message here from the Italian outfit for anyone who cared to read it. There might well be other sides left in the Champions League who can attack better, look more exciting or play more expansive football. However, when it comes to being an all-round team and working as a well-drilled unit, this Juventus is the real deal.

This was a triumph to savour for a while, but then move on quickly to the job in hand, trying to take the trophy. Juventus have shown the steel, skill and determination to confirm themselves as genuine contenders. In Paris, one imagines, there will have been many Gallic sighs of regret at the thought of what might have been if their team could have shown such qualities.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
@Anonn

Sure buddy, whatever eases your pain.

@Anonymous

I think it will just be considered that Juve would qualify via 2 routes.
Meaning it will still be Juve plus 2nd and 3rd in Serie A who qualify to CL.
I think, not 100% sure.
on the 21st April, 2017 at 5:28pm
@Tezo - only from the 2018/19 season. Next year it's still 2+1 for Italy.
on the 21st April, 2017 at 8:15am
Ravanelli

Don't forget a special thanks to those serie a referee's who keep making sure you're successful on italian soil
on the 21st April, 2017 at 4:26am
Italy will get four (4 in the CL next season even if Juve does not win the cup. We are in a new cycle and Italy gets the 4th spot guaranteed no matter what happens this year.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 11:09pm
just a quick question here. if Juventus end up winning the champions league that means they get automatic entry into next seasons, but they will also finish first in the league so does that mean that the fourth place team in serie a get's a spot in the champions league which will mean four italian teams may be in the tournament next year?
on the 20th April, 2017 at 8:21pm
I'm just glad Kuipers didn't fall for Barca's shenanigans. Well officiated. Unlike the travesty we saw in the 2nd leg of the Real-Bayern tie.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 8:20pm
I would have tried to fill up my water bottle with Neymar tears and see if it gives me super powers.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 4:53pm
We've come a long way with this team. It warms my heart to see us confident and classy like that, full of grit.

This is such a far cry from how we played in Europe just 3-4 seasons ago when we were very shaky and very nervous.
Yeah it's a different squad but the backbone is pretty much the same as with the management.

This management deserves the CL for what they did over the years and how they transformed this club.. Agnelli, Marotta, Nedved, Paratici..

But most of all we want this for Buffon.
Chiellini as well.

We still got 3 games to go but I'm optimistic.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 4:46pm
Incredible effort over two legs by the squad, very calm and professional. Higuain's issue is not unusual,similar to Cavani. However, he is a menace to the other team for the full 90 minutes, and as multiple m's sai, he can provide a pass. It's the right side defensively that could be Juve's downfall, but the entire unit covers the whole pitch as a rule. I also think that Belotti would be a long term solution up front. BUONA FORTUNA JUVE!
on the 20th April, 2017 at 4:03pm
GRAZIE RAGAZZI!

Only slight negative was Higuain although in fairness he did slip over on 2 chances and the other one wasn't exactly clear cut.

But who cares we're in the semi's and let's not forget every time Gonzalo is on the ball he's got around 3 defenders next to him.

Higuain could easily score in the next round and all will be forgotten. But he can miss 10 open goals for all I care as long as we win it he'll have done his job.

Let's assign him Bonucci's personal motivator lol
on the 20th April, 2017 at 3:34pm
I'm a Juve fan and I've been impressed with this side's ability to peak at the right time. But make no mistake, Juventus has to win the cup to justify any plaudits. We hold the record for the most losses in finals (6) and that has been a tough pill to swallow over the years (I've watched every single one, apart from 73) so let's not get too excited. Sometimes side's win because it's their time and that's why I hope Athletico are dumped out - they are our only threat. I want Real in the final.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 2:33pm
Great result and fantastic workrate from the whole team but at the highest level missing chances like the ones Higuin has missed in these 2 legs will cost Juve. He crumbles in the big games and this isn't new ask any real or Arg fan. I agree with Sheva 7, Juve still lack attacking quality on their bench. But with that def they have a chance
on the 20th April, 2017 at 1:39pm
For the people of understanding: I hope we knocked them out for ourselves and Real knocked out Bayern for us. Forza Juve!
on the 20th April, 2017 at 9:20am
@mmmmmmmmm: A name like Sheva7 does not exactly resemble a Juve fan. Plus he didn't insult Higuain...what he said was the truth. Higuain played poorly on attacking phase over the course of 180 min. It's clearly a phycological problem that needs professional attention. Any team aiming to be successful must work on all aspects of the players and not only tactical/technical abilities.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 9:07am
@Sheva 7 - When Higain has a ball 2 oponents are on him, and he does know how to provide a pass, so he may not score but Dybala, Cuadrado, Mandzukic can, and one more thing don't underestimate Higuain. I think Juventus supports need to insulting their players and show some love and appreciation for all they have done. Just look at the Barca supporters last night. Forza Juve!
on the 20th April, 2017 at 8:44am
Great performance by Juve over both legs. They're doing Italy proud. I am surprised though at how they have no midfield or attacking options on the bench. I am also concerned about Higuain. To his credit, his link up play and defensive contribution have been great but he has a history of failing to finish chances in big games and he has shown that again in both legs. Still, I think Juve have a great chance of winning the CL.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 6:32am
We have a serious chance to lift Big ears. Andiamo Cosi Ragazzi!
on the 20th April, 2017 at 2:09am
Fully deserved. Not many teams could do what Juventus did over 2 games vs Barcelona. They played such a smart game and defended so well, proving that no one defends like Italian players do.
on the 20th April, 2017 at 1:07am

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