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Juve hold Barca to enter CL semis

Barcelona, Apr 20 (Agencies)
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Published on 20 Apr. 2017 10:51 PM IST
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A vintage defensive performance helped Juventus reach the last-four of the Champions League after holding Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp, advancing 3-0 on aggregate.
Barca failed to conjure up another remarkable comeback as Juventus’ professional display and stern defence limited the hosts to one shot on target, with the Old Lady confirming their spot in the last-four of the competition and becoming the first Italian side to reach the semi-final on seven occasions.
Juve went into the tie after conceding just three goals in the competition and if Massimiliano Allegri’s side can produce performances such as tonight they have every chance of making the final in Cardiff.
Barca dominated possession early-on and nearly unlocked a resolute Juventus defence in the 15th minute when Lionel Messi’s dissecting ball found Jordi Alba inside the area but the left-back failed to control the ball, leaving the visitors to sweep up at the back.
The hosts pressed high in search for the crucial first goal and came close again in the 20th minute after Messi pounched on a losse ball inside the box before dragging his effort wide of Gianluigi Buffon’s far-post.  Juve were never truly troubled in the opening 45 with Messi’s tame effort in the 30th minute comfortably parried by Buffon before the Argentine fired the loose ball into the side-netting.
The Italian outfit looked positive on the counter and had opportunities of their own after Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic had their half-chances saved.
Juve started to sit men behind the ball and Luis Enrigue’s team had no answer with Neymar’s long-range effort on the hour-mark blasted high and wide as Barca struggled to work Buffon. The La Liga champions were denied a consolation with eight minutes left to play when Neymar’s pacey cross was well captured by Buffon as the 39-year-old still searches for his first Champions League trophy in his illustrious career.
Juve held firm as the game to a close and become the first side to beat Barca at the Nou Camp in 15 games.
Meanwhile Monaco confirmed their Champions League semi-final spot with a superb 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at the Stade Louis II, advancing 6-3 on aggregate.
The Ligue 1 side went into the second-leg with a 3-2 lead and extended their advantage three minutes in when the in-form Kylian Mbappe finished from close-range.
Former Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao doubled the French side’s advantage in the 17th minute when he headed home past Roman Buerki.
Substitution Ousmane Dembele helped get his team back into the tie after he found Marco Reus who dispatched his effort three minutes after the interval.
Valere Germain came off the bench for Monaco and completed the scoring to confirm his side’s place in the last-four.
Juventus, Monaco, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will discover their faith when the semi-final draw takes place on the 21st of April.


 
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