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FC Barcelona said farewell to the Champions League on Wednesday night at the quarter-final stage, with Luis Enrique’s men simply unable to break down a resilient Juventus backline in a 0-0 stalemate at the Camp Nou (0-3 aggregate).
The game began with the frenetic intensity envisaged, but without the early chances, or goal, seen in the comeback against PSG last month. A blazed strike over the bar from each side, first from Gonzalo Higuain and then from Ivan Rakitic were about as close as either came to goal inside the first quarter of an hour.
Barça so very nearly had their breakthrough goal through Leo Messi, who fired just wide from inside the area. Neymar Jr and Sergi Roberto then had volleyed attempts go wide and high respectively as the hosts began to pressure.
With very little to maneuver in front of a stubborn Juve defence, it was up to Barça to create something out of nothing, and Messi so nearly did exactly that with a double effort that first stung the gloves of Gianluigi Buffon before rattling the side net on the follow up.
Shortly after the restart, it was Messi again at the heart of Barça’s attacking siege, as a one-two exchange with Neymar was perfectly executed but the move ended in a skyward shot from the mercurial no.10.
The attempts kept flying towards goal, but not on target as another Messi effort, via a deflection, whistled inches past the far post.
The home side refused to accept defeat but it was simply not going in – Suárez hooked the ball back into the danger area after Buffon’s fumble but Messi could not keep his volley under the bar.
Sergi Roberto was so famously the hero last month against PSG but a powerful left-footed strike went just wide of the post. Try as they might, it was clearly not going to be Barça’s night.
With the tie all said and done, the Camp Nou faithful rose to their feet, singing and waving their flags in support of the team, acknowledging the effort of the players.
Luis Enrique's side now turn their attention to Sunday's Clásico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu, as they look to turn things around in La Liga.
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