It was a good night for Juventus as they struck three without response against Luis Enrique’s Barcelona at the Stadio delle Alpi. Argentine number 10 Paulo Dybala scored twice in the first half, putting Barcelona firmly on the back foot. Giorgio Chiellini added the third in the second half from a corner, overpowering his marker Javier Mascherano.
Barcelona for their part were pedestrian for most of the game, with possession among their back three for most of the game. The two best chances when Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez were put through on goal by Lionel Messi was thwarted by the excellent Gianluigi Buffon.
Barcelona overcame a 4-0 deficit in the last round but was there signs within tonight’s performances that lightning can strike twice?
Gianluigi Buffon: 8/10
The 39-year-old Italian didn’t put a foot wrong all night and pulled off two fantastic saves, none more important than when facing up against Andres Iniesta to keep it 1-0. It proved to be a game-changing moment as Juventus went up the other end and scored their second. How different it could have been if he didn’t tip it round the post. He also came out on top against Luis Suarez in a 1v1 in the second.
Dani Alves: 7/10
He looked nervy at first coming up against his former side. The first half was littered with fouls for him and he even picked up a silly booking. But after half time he came out a lot calmer and while he didn’t show off his ability going forward as much he kept it simple and didn’t allow Neymar many opportunities down his side.
Giorgio Chiellini: 8/10
The trio of him, Bonucci, and Buffon were solid all night. Constantly aware of what was happening around them at all times. Chiellini gets extra credit for his goal in the second half, completely outmuscling Javier Mascherano in the process. Got away with a potential penalty for a handball but it doesn’t take away from a fantastic performance.
Leonardo Bonucci: 7/10
Calm in possession and solid in the air and tackling. He and Chiellini gave Suarez no room to try and play or get on the ball. Only once did he slip away from them only to be bailed out by their goalkeeper. But they showed the signs of an impressive partnership out there.
Alex Sandro: 8/10
The more you watch him the more you get impressed by him. Initially, he was tasked with keeping Messi quiet, which he did. After that Ivan Rakitic had a go at getting the better of him but it was no issue for the Brazillian full back. Going forward he was a threat constantly and linked up well Mandzukic in front of him.
Sami Khedira: 6/10
Not as imposing as you expect from Khedira; a few times he got caught in possession or gave it away needlessly. But overall the German kept closing down passing options for Barcelona’s midfield and kept his sides shape intact. Also picked up a soft booking for a dive in the second half.
Miralem Pjanic: 7/10
Great delivery for Juve’s third and picked passes all night. His ability to pick the ball up and drive forward relieved some of the pressure from his defence while he, like Khedira, kept closing down options and stifled Barca’s midfield.
Juan Cuadrado: 7/10
Constantly attacking Mathieu in the first half and then Umtiti in the second, he was a thorn in the visitor's side all night and will be happy with his assist to start the scoring. Although sometimes was rather wasteful when he went beyond his man, coming inside when a quick cross would have sufficed.
Paulo Dybala: 9/10
Best player on the pitch and the Argentine everyone will be talking about. Two sublime finishes on his left foot early on set the tone for the game. Playing a bit deeper, as he has most of this season, he was tasked with creating and linking up but also used his role to ghost between midfield and attack.
Mario Mandzukic: 7/10
Not a natural winger but Sergi Roberto looked uncomfortable against him down Juve’s left-hand side. Did well tracking back and helping out Sandro at times but could have spent more time on his feet than on the ground.
Gonzalo Higuain: 6/10
Not a classic centre-forward performance from Higuain who missed two decent opportunities that he’ll be annoyed at himself for. But he did link up well with other players in attack and came back into midfield to help his side hold onto it for a breather.
Mario Lemina: 4/10
Came on for a tiring Cuadrado and didn’t threaten much, picked up a cheap booking.
Tomas Rincon: N/A
Andrea Barzagli: N/A