Spanish giants Barcelona failed to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the second successive season after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Juventus in the return leg of their last-8 tie at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.
Leading 3-0 from the first leg a week ago, the Italian side produced an exceptional defensive performance to reach the semifinals as they maintained a clean sheet in the tie.
Barca were all over Juve’s goal but failed to repeat their last-16 heroics when they overturned a first-leg 4-0 deficit to beat Paris St-Germain.
Barca star Lionel Messi had five shots off target in the match, as the visitors seemed very determined to man their post together with Gianluigi Buffon, who has now kept 46 clean sheets in the Champions League and hoping to lift the title for the first time.
Juventus now join Manchester United (2007-08) and Bayern Munich (2012-13) as one of only three teams that have stopped the Catalans scoring in both legs of a Champions League tie.
“We knew Barcelona were ready to risk everything tonight, but we closed down all the spaces,” Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said after the game.
“Scoring three in the first leg and not conceding at the Camp Nou is the evidence that we are a great team, a great group. Now we need to make another difficult step to reach the final in Cardiff.
“I think every team would like to avoid us now,” he added.
Read Also: Ronaldo fires Madrid to Champions League semis
Elsewhere, Monaco reached the semi-finals for the first time since 2004 after an impressive second-leg quarter-final performance against Borussia Dortmund.
Leading 3-2 from the first leg at Dortmund, the Ligue 1 side beat the Germans 3-1 at the Stade Louis II, to earn their last-4 ticket 5-3 on aggregate.
Teenager Kylian Mbappe pounced from close range to increase Monaco’s advantage after three minutes and Radamel Falcao headed in soon after to all but put the tie beyond the visitors
Dortmund threw on exciting forward Ousmane Dembele and it was a fantastic run from the 19-year-old that set up Marco Reus to lash in after the break.
But substitute Valere Germain scored 22 seconds after coming off the bench for the hosts to secure their spot in the last four.
“Unfortunately we didn’t have the quality, energy or the luck to get into the semi-finals,” Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said in a post-match interview.
As it stands, left in the competition are Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, Juventus and Monaco. And the draw to determine which team face the other in the semis will be held on Friday.
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears