Messi On Bench For Juve Showdown

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Italian giants Juventus host Lionel Messi's FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.

The first half was an odd affair, with Barcelona and their heavily rotated side having a hard time staying cohesive and giving the ball away with shocking frequency. "They lost the two finals but they reached them and that was a success", he said.

Barcelona's Lucas Digne made the mistake of wanting to centre a ball instead of shooting directly at goal, letting a 68th-minute chance slip by.

"There were lots of moments in the game which we dominated, but at the end, they could have won it with Dybala". Rakitic said in a press conference before their game against Juventus.

Messi came on in the second half as Barca played out a goalless draw with Juve in Turin, securing their place in the round of 16 as group winners with one game to spare.

Barcelona, meanwhile, needed only a point to reach the Round of 16 and the Spanish superpower got exactly that against Juventus.

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic went closest for Barca after 22 minutes, when his free-kick struck the post after making its way through a crowded box. Suarez stopped being isolated, because Juventus couldn't just focus on marking him out any more.

Valverde also sent a message of support to Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo.

Barcelona, who brought on Messi early in the second half, enjoyed long spells of possession but used it as a defensive tactic to stop Juventus attacking rather than creating chances themselves. Bruno Cesar was also on target for Sporting and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe scored a late consolation for the Greeks who were eliminated.

A thigh injury has forced Giorgio Chiellini out of the lineup, which means that Medhi Benatia has come in to replace the defender, while Andrea Barzagli comes back into the defence.

Quite frankly, they look a step slower in almost every phase. The Barcelona boss appears to be unconcerned by outside interests and even in playing pretty football. "I'm not the one to say anything, just to say that it would be strange to see him wearing another shirt when he's always worn it", he said. "He is the best player in the history of the game".

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A massive positive for Ernesto Valverde's men will be Barca's 17-match unbeaten streak, although this could very well be his side's toughest test yet in this run.

Gab Marcotti addresses Juventus' Serie A form and the mounting pressure on Max Allegri after their loss at Sampdoria. "He is with us and that's what we care about", Valverde added.