MATCH REPORT: Scoreless draw at Juventus sends Barça to last 16 as group winners
Two of Europe's perennial powers play to a stalemate in Turin, but it's enough to send the blaugranas through to the knockout stages for the 14th season in a row
HARRISON MICHAEL TOLL
FC Barcelona walked away from Wednesday night’s marquee UEFA Champions League matchup at Juventus with a scoreless draw, which was enough to qualify the Catalans for the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition for the 14th consecutive campaign.
The draw mathematically sewed up the top spot in Group D for Barça, allowing them to sidestep the other group winners in the first knockout stage. It is the 11th straight season Barça has won its group.
Juventus, however, will now have to wait until its final group stage match to guarantee their presence in the round of 16. The draw leaves La Vecchia Signora just one point ahead of Sporting Lisbon—which eliminated Olympiacos from contention with a 3–1 triumph on Wednesday night—heading into the final game of Group D.
Lionel Messi did not start against Juventus, and entered the game for Gerard Deulofeu in the 56th minute. Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen racked up his fourth shutout in five group stage games. The 25-year-old German goalkeeper made a stunning save to avert a would-be goal from the foot of Paolo Dybala late in second half injury time, preserving the deadlock and ensuring Barça’s appearance in the next round as group winners.
Barça had the best scoring opportunity of the first half, when a free kick from 40 meters was nodded off the post by Paulinho. The Catalans played solidly on defense throughout the game, limiting Juventus to just three shots on target, while winning the battle for possession, 62% to 38%.
Barça’s sixth and final group stage match comes at home against Sporting on Tuesday, December 5. Kickoff at Camp Nou is set for 8.45pm CET.