Juventus march on as Barcelona draw a blank
Bonucci and Chiellini stand tall to shut out Catalans and reach Champions League semi-final
Barcelona 0 Juventus 0 [Juventus win 3-0 on aggregate)
No goals, no drama and no stunning comeback this time from Barcelona. After their extraordinary exploits last month, when they overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the second leg against Paris Saint-German, the Spanish club found Juventus less accommodating.
Defending a 3-0 advantage from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the Italian champions parked the proverbial bus at Camp Nou, shutting out their hosts in a performance of dogged determination in which Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were outstanding.
Surely there is no more remarkable statistic in the competition's recent history than the fact that Juventus have yet to concede a goal from open play in this season's tournament.
Barcelona did create opportunities but Lionel Messi was denied by Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal and neither Luis Suarez nor Neymar could capitalise on the chances that came their way.
In all Barcelona had 19 shots but managed just one on target, as they exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage for the second consecutive season.
Juventus carved out a couple of chances themselves but, on a night when accuracy in front of goal was at a premium, Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado squandered their opportunities.
Not that it mattered and it's Juventus who take their place in Friday's semi-final draw alongside Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.
"It's a step forward. We deserved qualification against a top level team," said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. "Barcelona not scoring over two legs is almost unheard of... We did very well defensively, less in attack because we failed to make the most of some very promising counter-attacks by missing some simple passes."
Only two other clubs have shut out Barcelona over two legs of a Champions League fixture – Manchester United in 2007-08 and Bayern Munich in 2012-13 – and their coach conceded they deserved to exit the competition.
"We tried with all our might but we couldn't find the route to goal," said Luis Enrique, who is leaving Barcelona at the end of the season. "We played a very poor first half in Turin and that has cost us dearly."
The victory over Barcelona keeps Juventus on course for a treble, as they are eight points clear at the top of Serie A and facing Lazio in the final of the Coppa Italia.
"The players need to realise that they can do even better and we are slowly improving," said Allegri. "We must not get ahead of ourselves... I am happy with what the lads are doing but the key is not to maintain current form, instead we are aiming to improve it."