Miracles do happen. But not every six weeks. And not against this Juventus; not with Giorgio Chellini and Leonardo Bonucci, born to block, at the heart of a defence.
Barcelona are out of the Champions League, with Juventus going through into the semi-finals, and now the recriminations and rebuilding will begin in Catalonia.
They could not over-turn a daunting first-leg deficit, as they did in the previous round against Paris Saint-Germain just a month and a half ago, although there were chances. Lionel Messi, amazingly, was wasteful.
It was the first time Barcelona had not scored in Europe at home for four years and they will have played far worse and done so. But there is – as with that other semi-finalist Atletico Madrid – a daunting beauty to Juventus’s defensive organisation.
In their desperation Barcelona surrounded and harangued the referee who took a hard-line against them and did not shift. Maybe they also paid the price for the way they behaved against PSG with Uefa flexing its muscle.
“Unleash hell,” read the headline in the Turin newspaper which could have been read either way. Certainly, though, the Italians were not cowed. And anyway ‘hell’ was not full. The Nou Camp not at capacity – a sign, maybe, that there was not quite the same level of belief as had overpowered a callow PSG.
Just as against the French champions, though, a giant mosque was unveiled pre-match. “More than a club” it read, in English, as opposed to “Mes que un club”, the motto in the local language, in the Barcelona colours, and this needed to be more than it had taken in the last round.
Coach Luis Enrique had said all the right things, had sounded as if it was eminently doable – although the key was getting that first goal and that meant trying to knock Juventus out of their stride, getting the crowd up and getting ahead.
That was easier said than done. Juventus are organised, street-wise, more experienced than PSG and clearly saw the benefit of getting another goal themselves to kill any attempts to gain momentum or turn this tie. It needed a strong referee and Bjorn Kuipers warned Paulo Dybala for waving an imaginary card after he was fouled by Ivan Rakitic while every time a Barcelona player hit the turf there were howls from the stands and demands from the pitch – led by Luis Suarez.
But it was Suarez who should have done better than head the ball across goal when he was picked out by Neymar, with a clever lob, and it was the same for Rakitic as he blasted over while, for Juventus, Gonzalo Higuain slashed at a half volley, sending it over the bar, having already failed to connect with another chance.
Finally Lionel Messi got involved, sending an angled cross to pick out the run of Jordi Alba who only just failed to connect and send it into the net. And so it continued with Messi then missing the best chance so far – dragging his shot wide when it was laid off to him, inadvertently, by Suarez. Little wonder he held his face. He knew, he really knew, he should have scored.
Even though they were playing well and perceived a Juventus weaknesses by continually attacking down the Italians right their frustration grew and they heaped the pressure on Kuipers, crowding round, complaining at every challenge, every perceived injustice. It also had the effect of fuelling them – Messi, who forced the first save from Gianluigi Buffon, and then fired the rebound into the side-netting and Neymar in particular. And it went too far with Neymar launching himself at Miralem Pjanic and was booked. It would take him out of the semi-final first leg if Barcelona made it.
Half-time came. No goal. Juventus would not crack and it continued with Neymar dribbling his way through only to be crowded out before the visitors again also threatened, after Jordi Alba lost the ball, with Higuain picking out Juan Cuadrado who shot low across goal and just wide.
Messi had two shots. One he skied and then it appeared he was sure to score as he shifted the ball onto his left foot only for Chiellini to get a slight deflection just taking it wide.
Barcelona pushed and pushed and threw men forward – their formation was basically 2-8 - and were caught on when Pjanic fouled Sergio Busquets but was allowed to play on with his deflected shot almost catching out goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen who tipped it onto the crossbar.
It was astonishing there had not been a goal and yet another opportunity fell to Messi – from Suarez – but, unmarked, he volleyed over from seven yards. Incredible.
Soon after and Sergio Roberto cut inside and drove a shot narrowly wide. It would not go in. Just to lock it down further Juventus withdrew Dybala and brought on another formidable defender, Andrea Barzagli but it was another substitute, Barcelona’s Javier Mascherano, who should have made a difference – only for Buffon to block from point-blank range. They were out. And Juventus had avenged their defeat in the 2015 final and will be powerful contenders to reach another final.
Time on ball (at full time)
Average touch positions (full time)
That's it! Juve are into the semi-finals! Barcelona beaten in Turin, held back in Barcelona.
90 mins +2
Juventus have just been superb here tonight. Nothing has gotten past them.
Barcelona players surround the fourth official as a cross is fired into the box but comes off Sandro's arm, which is by his side. What a stupid thing to try and argue about. If they'd concentrated on getting shots on target as much as they were to get angered by every single ref decision, maybe something something something 0-0.
Lemina sends Iniesta tumbling to the floor with a smart stepover and Ter Stegen panics while scrambling backwards to stop going in his goal. It goes wide. The Nou Camp isn't as loud as Barcelona might want it to be here - the home crowd must know this one is done.
Lemina on, Cuadrado off. Juve look as dangerous on the break as Barca do in control. Barcelona, by the way, have managed one shot on target all game.
Neymar has been superb all night. Now on the right wing, he dribbles past a few players but still the ball won't drop to anyone in a Barcelona shirt and Juventus head it away.
Another corner. Iniesta gets it short and fires a cross into the area but it's headed away, then another cross is sent into the six yard box and Mascherano is there... but just can't quite reach it! So close again! And now Juventus are attacking but cant find the chance to shoot they did. Barca go forward again.
Messi fires a pass into Suarez, it's hit really hard and Suarez tries to get onto it with a defender tight to him... and throws himself to the ground theatrically. Now he's mad at the referee for handing him a penalty. Mascherano is about to come on.
Time on ball (60 - 75 min)
Pique is now playing as a striker. Barzagli comes on for Dybala. The substitution takes place very slowly, wasting precious minutes. Messi stands over a free-kick wide right... floats it to the back post and wins a corner.
Dybala, who hasn't featured since the start of the first half, dribbles past Umtiti and Alba in the box but is off balance as he shoots, sending the ball high and wide.
Juventus have a counter-attack as another Barca move is blocked by a million defenders and Higuain plays the pass to his left when Cuadrado could have been through on his right.
Whenever Barca are on the backfoot, Pique drops deeper than Umtiti so they have a defensive diamond thing going on, like he's a sweeper. It plays strikers onside all the time.
Bonucci has just perfectly read a pass across the box and cut it out before handing a certain goal to a striker.
SERGI ROBERTOOOOO has shot to the far post but put it just wide.
20 minutes left for Barca to score three, Juve look relatively comfortable.
That booking for Khedira means he will miss the first leg of the semi final, which Juve look very much like they're going to be in at the moment. Barcelona are throwing everyone forward but still no shots on target.
It's a corner, Buffon comes to grab it but drops the ball and it's passed to Messi. He has an open goal, other than the two defenders on the line and shoots over. The finishing has been poor tonight.
One-way traffic at Camp Nou
It's been all Barcelona, with the hosts racking up 15 shots so far - Juventus have managed just six in reply.
Barca slow down the play and put passes together... and then Neymar howks his shot way over the bar and even further wide. It's as if Barcelona are so worried about how good Buffon is that they're hitting them extra hard to be sure and getting too much underneath.
Khedira comes sliding into a tackle on Suarez in the corner after Sandro tries to past the striker in a dangerous area. Khedira gives his teammate a talking to after the yellow card he's earned himself.
Time on ball (45 - 60 min)
Paco Alcacer comes on for Rakitic. That might mean a change in shape but Barca are on all out attack anyway now.
Messi shoots over the bar. It's not happening for Barcelona tonight.
Messi gets a tiny bit of space outside the box, he faces up for the shot... just wide! Chiellini throws himself at it and blocks the ball behind for a corner, which is headed away.
Suarez is taken down on the edge of the area by Chiellini, who is booked.
Messi has started taking matters into his own hands and a quick one two puts in him for a shot... but he fires high.
Juve attack and Cuadrado hits the side netting!
OOOOHHHHH so close. Cuadrado pulls his shot wide of the far post as a slip nearly lets Juventus in on goal!
They look so dangerous on the counter-attack at the moment!
Neymar tries a shot from a near-impossible angle but nothing comes of it. Should've passed.
Woof. Neymar goes on a mazey dribble and goes past four players with close control, drop shoulders and a bit of weaving. Then the ball goes out of play for a goal kick and nobody cares.
We're back! Will see Miracle at the Nou Camp 2: Electric Boogaloo?
Juventus are very, very good. Barcelona need some sort of super performances in the second half to get close to being back in this one. Messi looks like he might have a black eye - he's lucky not to have broken his cheek bone with that fall.
Average touch positions (half time)
Time on ball (first half)
Mandzukic goes for a header, doesn't win, is bumped into and goes down. Barcelona don't put the ball out, because everyone in the ground knows what's going on.
Pique is playing as a central midfielder now, Messi too actually. Neymar crosses in from the left, Suarez goes for a bicycle kick but puts it wide under pressure.
Messi has been absolutely wiped out here and Neymar goes in with a mental tackle to level it up.
Neymar has been booked... Messi is still down on the ground with blood on his face (it's just a little cut) as Pjanic lets Messi land on his face from a real height - let's hope he's OK - but Neymar's revenge challenge could have been a red.
Messi has just left Alex Sandro spinning with a little bit of skill on the touchline. While Sandro climbs out of the bin, Barca attack and teh ball is played across the box towards Suarez... but it's dealt with well.
Iniesta is booked for a foul on Cuadrado, and that one seems pretty legit too. The referee is having a good game so far.
Barca are focusing a lot of their play down the left wing, which is where Dani Alves lives. Neymar has a lot of the ball, Alba is forward a lot.
Suarez tries to pass to that wing during a counter-attack but stabs the ball out for a throw. Neymar beats his man on the left wing again, fires a cross to the far corner of the box and Rakitic goes in for it. There's a coming together and it looks like a foul will be blown but the referee says play on.
Juventus attack and get all the way to the box, Higuain runs across the defender, the ball is chipped in and the striker can't get enough power on the shot to take it past Ter Stegen.
Chiellini is down "injured".
Juventus attack yet to make much of an impression
The visitors haven't yet managed to apply some concerted pressure on the Barcelona backline.
Khedira kicks Neymar's foot and goes down in pain, forcing the referee to check up on him as Barca are trying to keep up the momentum. Juventus are really aggressive in the tackle and, if this makes sense, with their defensive positioning. Barca have to work so hard to create chances and when they get space, a defender comes absolutely flying at them.
Neymar dances past about three players, pulls off a beautiful back heel flick to go past another and then Messi takes the ball on, shooting from outside the box, following the ball and and shooting over the bar from a tight angle. Barca getting closer.
Time on ball (15 - 30 min)
Suarez tries to barge his way through the middle of Bonucci and catches him while swiping at the ball and the defender goes down howling. He's been hit but also knows what he's doing here, and Barca give away a free-kick.
Steve McManaman has just pointed out that Khedira is basically doing a man-marking job on Busquets.
The Barca players are surrounding the referee - they're incensed at some of his decisions, all of which seem to be pretty spot on. If Neymar is booked he'll miss the next game... he's shouting at the referee... but gets away with it. He wanted a penalty because he ran into the back of Dani Alves.
Dybala looks offside as the ball is played forward... but the flag doesn't go up! Ter Stegen comes off his line to tackle, Dybala can go round him... oh but he actually is offside. The linesman was just waiting for him to affect play and confused us all! Or just me.
Barcelona players are really unhappy with the referee and it looks like Busquets might be booked for dissent. The ref just isn't having any nonsense. No booking in the end but it does look like Messi had his shirt pulled on a little bursting run through the middle.
Barca are playing such a high line here and winning the ball back quickly. This is how they used to play and Neymar has just fired wide at the near post and Iniesta has completely binned Chiellini with a bit of skill but chipped the ball high to Messi, who doesn't quite beat Sandro in the air.
MESSSSIIIIiiii he's put it wide! The ball drops to him 12 yards out, he takes a good first touch but then snatches at the second and drags it wide!
How often do you see that happen? Not often, is the answer.
Wow that's close. Messi finds space 35 yards out, spots Alba's run to the back post and dinks a little ball over the top to him - the finish needs to be like Sergi Roberto's against PSG... but he can't quite reach and the chance goes begging.
The game is starting to open up a bit now! Barca leave space in behind for Cuadrado to run into and Pique sprints back to put in a brilliant slide tackle block. Barca then do this:
And then Juve do this:
The danger here is that Barcelona are leaving too much space in behind for the counter-attack.
Time on ball (0 - 15 min)
The hosts have their first shot of the game, in reply to two so far from Juventus.
That's a decent chance for Barca! A clever pass over the top of Alves' head nearly puts Suarez in but he can't find anyone with his header.
Juve attack quickly and have men over!
Higuain gets space to open a shot but fires over - that's a massive moment. He should have hit the target.
The referee is doing well not to reward players looking for free-kicks here. Both sides are doing their best to make a lot of any heavy challenges but the referee just turns away and expects play to continue. Hopefully both will get the message.
Barca have Juve pinned back now, just where they want them, but the Italians are defending a lot better already than PSG did at any point in that other second leg.
Neymar gets the ball on the left, faces up to Dani Alves and goes past him! He's into the box, tries top drop a shoulder and go inside.. and he goes down under a tackle from Alves as he tries to recover. It's never a penalty and the referee agrees.
Cuadrado waits for Pique to close him down near the goal line, the tackle comes in and Cuadrado goes flying. Juve are at it here. Clever tactics - it'll really frustrate Barca, who like to exaggerate fouls themselves.
Monaco have gone a goal up against Dortmund already, by the way.
The referee is trying to let the game flow early on as Juve put in a couple of heavy challenges, then Dybala lies on the floor for ages after a great Iniesta tackle. he's still down as Juve win the ball back and then suddenly, miraculously jumps to his feet. He's fine! Praise be!
The referee has gone across and told him to wise up.
Barca have started on the front foot but Busquets gives away a free-kick and Juve have a chance to keep the ball near the danger zone. They're already taking their time with the ball, Barca nervously clear their lines.
And they're off!
They don't like the Champions League theme tune here
Whistle, jeers and boos nearly drown out the sound of the the Champions League theme tune. You can't hear any of the words! How am I supposed to know when it goes the Chaaam- ARRGHH THE CHAAAAAAMPIONS! there it is. I heard it.
It's time for the Barca theme tune
Gigi Buffon is ridiculous
A collection of Gianluigi Buffon's most ridiculously brilliant saves this season.— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) April 19, 2017
Reminder that he's 39 years-old ������ pic.twitter.com/OA8matJxkb
In the good old days, Barcelona defended as a unit high up the pitch, requiring every player to stay tight to each other in order to suffocate teams with a high press.
The reason Barcelona keep getting humped early in European games at the moment owes much to poor individual defending but all to failures of the team to defend as a unit. Though blame can be attached to individuals, the collective have let them down.
Here's an example from a Guardiola era game against Villarreal. Lionel Messi goes on a run and Barca have five players in attacking positions. Messi loses the ball.
Villarreal are set up to absorb pressure and counter-attack and as soon as Messi is dispossessed, the ball is played forward and the defence begins to step out. Suddenly, a pack of wild Barca players appears.
Villarreal are decent with the ball, bypass the first line of press and pass out wide, since that is the only safe option available other than Punt It Anywhere... but then Eric Abidal sprints in to intercept.
Jurgen Klopp calls it a gegenpress; Barcelona were famous for their six second press (win the ball back in that time or drop into defensive positions) and the effect it has is that defending teams cannot keep the ball, Barcelona remain on the attack and the ball stays far away from their own goal.
But they don't really do this anymore.
The players out for the warm up
Juventus have let in two goals
In the entire of the Champions League this season. Enrique wants to score five. Can you imagine if they do? Goal city.
Luis Enrique wants five goals. In normal time. That's what he's said.
This may well have some sort of sports psychology thinking behind it. By giving a clearly defined goal, you can help the team mentally prepare for the... thing. I'm not a psychologist. I once phoned one for a while though to ask about penalties and this was the kind of thing he told me.
Ter Stegen; Piqué, Umtiti, J.Alba, S.Roberto; Rakitic, Busquets, A.Iniesta; Suárez, Messi, Neymar,
Buffon; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
What is it?
When is it?
Wednesday April 19.
What time is kick-off?
What TV channel is it on?
You can watch the game on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 2 HD. Alternatively, we will be bringing you live coverage of the match right here.
What is the team news?
The home side will welcome the return of Sergio Busquets after the midfielder missed the first leg through suspension. Luis Enrique will desperately be hoping that the Spaniard will be able to offer the back four some much needed protection after they were torn apart in Turin.
Javier Mascherano (calf), Arda Turan (groin) and Jeremy Mathieu (ankle) are also fit to return after missing out on Saturday's win over Real Sociedad.
Sergi Roberto will continue to deputise for Rafinha Alcantara - the full back is out with a head injury.
Possible line up: (3-4-3) ter Stegen; Mascherano, Pique, Umtiti; Roberto, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Misses next match if booked: Neymar, Piqué, Rakitić, Suárez
The big news from Juventus' 2-0 win at Pescara on the weekend was Paulo Dybala's withdrawal following a late challenge in the 54th minute. The 23-year-old forward is likely to shake off that knock and is expected to start again tonight.
Other than Marko Pjaca who is out with an ankle injury, Massimiliano Allegri has a fully fit squad to choose from.
Possible line up: (4-2-3-1) Buffon; Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Sandro; Pjanic, Khedira; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
Misses next match if booked: Cuadrado, Mandžukić, Khedira
What are they saying?
The Barcelona coach said his said need to score at least five goals to progress to the semi final:
"We have to create a collective crazy atmosphere. The key will be to clinical in front of goal. Our goal is to score five goals.
"Those who experienced the night against PSG at Camp Nou will have another chance to enjoy a historic evening," Enrique said.
"Many results at home and the recent comeback against PSG are statistics that invite optimism.
"If we score the first goal, Camp Nou will get the second and the third will come by itself.
Massimiliano Allegri: "We have to be clever in choosing when to attack, when to defend. I guess Barcelona haven't changed much in a week – they are full of potential, something we knew in Turin. We need to be smart. We need to be clear-minded, technical and not think of the scoreline. We will go out to try and win again.
"Perhaps we'll adjust the tactics but I'd imagine they'll be very minor changes. Barcelona have three quality strikers but I'm confident that my midfield and defence can contain them."
Juventus right-back Dani Alves excelled against his former club in the first leg, and has rated his side's chances of progression at just 60 per cent despite holding a three-goal advantage.
What are the odds?
- Barcelona win: 9/20
- Barcelona to qualify: 9/2
- Juventus win: 11/2
- Juventus to qualify: 1/7
- Draw: 4/1
What's our prediction?
No, not really. 2-1 Barca.