A look at Juventus’ Champions League campaign ahead of Saturday’s final against Real Madrid in Cardiff:
Juventus didn’t lose a match in a group with Sevilla, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb.
The Bianconeri had a disappointing start, drawing 0-0 at home against Sevilla, but they advanced to the knockout stage with a 3-1 win in Spain, courtesy of two late goals.
That ninth-minute strike by Sevilla defender Nicolas Pareja was the last goal Juventus would concede until the second leg of the semifinals against Monaco – a run of 690 minutes.
The only other occasion Juventus dropped points was in another home draw, when it was held 1-1 by Lyon.
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Juventus was rarely troubled by FC Porto, which had a player sent off in each leg.
However, the Bianconeri struggled to break Porto down in the first match even after Alex Telles was sent off in the 27th following two bookings in quick succession.
Massimiliano Allegri resorted to two second-half substitutes who quickly scored. Marko Pjaca netted five minutes after coming on, while Dani Alves took two minutes to find the back of the net.
Any hope Porto had of bouncing back evaporated shortly before halftime in the return match in Turin, when Gonzalo Higuain’s effort was stopped by the outstretched hand of Maxi Pereira, leading to an inevitable red card for the defender.
Paulo Dybala converted the resulting penalty.
Juventus excelled with defensive soccer at Camp Nou, holding Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the return leg after a victory in Turin.
Paulo Dybala, who has been compared to Lionel Messi, scored two first-half goals and defender Giorgio Chiellini added the third, 10 minutes after the break, in the first leg.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a fantastic stop to deny Andres Iniesta moments before Dybala’s second. He was instrumental again in Barcelona as Juventus displayed poise and experience to ensure there would be no comeback.
The BBC of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Chiellini proved more than up to the task of dealing with Barcelona’s MSN of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Juventus defended as a team, with the forwards tracking back, too – something which has been its strength under Allegri.
Gonzalo Higuain hadn’t scored in a Champions League knockout match since 2013, but the Argentina forward ended that negative streak against Monaco.
Higuain netted twice in the 2-0 first leg victory in the principality, doubling his tally from 24 previous matches in the knockout stages.
Juventus withstood pressure from Monaco and then punished it on the counter attack, with both of Higuain’s goals coming after good spells from the home side.
Buffon pulled off several fine saves in his 100th appearance in Europe’s top club competition, but he was finally beaten in the second leg by 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who wasn’t even born when the 39-year-old goalkeeper made his Serie A debut in 1995.
Source: Daniella Matar| AP