Paulo Dybala was the man of the hour for Juventus in the first leg of Champions League quarter-finals against Barcelona, where the Old Lady exploited Camp Nou’s lousy defence and registered an easy win against one of the biggest clubs (not the best though) in the world.
All eyes were set on the trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez before the game, but it was Paulo Dybala who became the ultimate destroyer and overshadowed the best-attacking trio in the world. It was Juventus’ determination to attack their opponents, the will to drive right at them and the guts to score from an unorthodox angle that resulted in an opener in the very 7th minute.
Jeremy Mathieu allowed Juan Cuadrado into the box and Paulo Dybala collected the pass to turn and eventually finish on that unorthodox angle with almost unmatched cool. Barcelona then seemed struggling to find fluency in their attacks and the fact that the backline offered far too space, further made the matters worse.
The visitors granted Dybala, even more, room in the area and Argentine crisply swept Mario Mandzukic’s cut-back past Ter Stegen into the bottom-left corner, thanks to Gerard Pique who partially blocking his goalkeeper’s view.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 11, 2017
Luis Suarez’s love for penalties and Neymar’s underrated performance left Lionel Messi all alone in the mid-field and even he too missed an opportunity to score in the second half while dragging a shot wide of the goalpost after Neymar had been robbed on the edge of the area.
The final clincher came in the 55th minute when Mascherano was inexplicably left marking Chiellini from a corner, and Juventus’ centre-half made the most of the height difference by getting to the end of Pjanic’s cross and placing it for a perfect header off the far post.
Watch the magnificent goals and Barcelona’s Blunders here:
— Juventus News (@paulpogbom) April 12, 2017
This 3-0 win means that Juventus remain undefeated in the last 18 European games they have played in Turin and as for Barcelona, it only a miracle that can save them from ending their Champions league dreams and they also (once again) need to record one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in the history of the game when Juve’s pay a visit at Camp Nou.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 11, 2017
However, the Catalans have already that that in the past when they overcame all odds and registered a history-making comeback against PSG, some weeks ago. They back from a deficit of 0-4 to completely humiliate Paris Saint-Germain by taking an aggregate lead of 6-5 in the very next game.
But, Juventus has one of the best defence we have ever seen in modern football and it won’t be an easy task for Luis Enrique to come up with a formation to tackle this challenge. Interestingly, Enrique opted for the hybrid 3-4-3 formation that helped Barcelona against PSG but it didn’t even affect Juve’s attack yesterday.
From losing out the lead to Real Madrid in La Liga to the humiliation they suffered against The Old Lady, 2016/17 season is turning out to be arguably one of the worst ones that the Catalans have ever witnessed.
If Barcelona doesn’t take measures to buckle up the defence, their future seems dark from here on.