Barca crisis deepens as Juventus win in Camp Nou
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties as Juventus won 3-0 away to FC Barcelona to leapfrog Ronald Koeman’s side and finish top of UEFA Champions League Group G.
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Barca’s first home defeat after 38 Champions League matches unbeaten in the Camp Nou came just four days after their 2-1 La Liga defeat to Cadiz, and another impotent display must raise questions about Koeman’s future at the club.
Both sides went into the final group game assured of their place in the last 16 of the competition, with Barca favorites to finish top and have a more favorable last 16 draw after their 2-0 win in Turin earlier in the group stage.
Koeman brought Ronald Araujo into his side after injury and rested Sergio Busquets, but his side were soon trailing after a disastrous start to the game.
Only 12 minutes were on the clock when Juan Cuadrado got past Araujo, who was looking rusty after several weeks out, and the young defender pulled him down to allow Ronaldo to put Juventus ahead from the penalty spot.
Eight minutes later it was 2-0 to Juventus, as Cuadrado found space down the Juventus right and his cross into the area was met by Weston McKennie, whose volley left Marc Andre Ter Stegen with no chance.
Barca’s only responses came through two shots from Lionel Messi, which were well dealt with by Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Messi tried 11 shots during the game, seven of which were on target, but he couldn’t find a way past the Juventus keeper.
The first half started with Ter Stegen saving well from McKennie, but VAR pulled the play back and penalized Clement Lenglet for a handball in the build-up, and Ronaldo again obliged from the penalty spot to make it 3-0.
That left Barca needing two goals to lead the group, and although Messi kept trying and Griezmann hit the bar, it was not to be.
The only good news on the night was Samuel Umtiti’s return after a knee injury and an impressive 25 minute cameo from Riqui Puig – a player Koeman may regret not using more over the past three months.
Source : Global Times | Photocredit : Google