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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Champions League: How Barcelona can challenge Juventus’ defense

Barcelona would have a tough task getting past the arduous defense of Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League.

Published: April 11, 2017 11:35:04 am
barcelona, barcelona vs juventus, champions league, uefa champions league, neymar, luis suarez, messi, football news, sports news, indian express Neymar and Lionel Messi are important elements of Barcelona’s attack alongside Luis Suarez. (Source: AP)

Serie A leaders Juventus prepare to host Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League on Tuesday night. One could argue that Juventus are the underdogs going into it as Barca come on the back of a 2-0 defeat to 15th placed Malaga in the league on Saturday. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar could not help the Spanish side as all goals went off target with Neymar also receiving a red card.

The Italian side, on the other hand, look confident after winning 2-0 against eleventh placed Chievo Verona this weekend. Gonzalo Higuain scored both the goals set up by Argentine Paulo Dybala.

Despite the win, manager Massimiliano Allegri faced criticism for not ‘winning in style’, to which he replied “if you want to see a show, you should go to the circus.” He added that there’s no shame in being good at defending. “In fact, it’s just as beautiful as a great attacking move.”

They however must not forget that they are up against comeback heroes who destroyed PSG 6-1 for a 6-5 win on aggregate in what would surely go down as games of the season and in Champions League history. Juve cannot ignore the ‘MSN’ factor, despite a strong defense. The three are the best attacking trio at the moment and are bound to create trouble for the hosts.

Also, five times Champions League winners Barca are still confident after the 2015 Champions League final when they beat Juventus 3-1 with goals from  Ivan Rakitic, Suarez and Neymar which saw Luis Enrique’s side claim the treble.

Among attractions that awaits the match, Dani Alves will be playing his first game against his former club. The 33-year-old defender had been a revered Barca player since he joined the team back in 2008. He had said earlier that he would not want to play them as it “would be too strange.” But the relations were estranged multiple times between the Brazilian and the Catalan club as Dani sought contract extensions and a better pay package, neither of which was forthcoming.

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