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Player Ratings: Substitute Messi runs out of time to rescue Barcelona vs Juventus


Barcelona secured their place as Champions League Group D winners after securing a valuable 0-0 draw against Juventus in Torino. This positive result against last year's finalists meant that Barca reached the knockout stages of the most prestigious competition in European football for the 14th season in a row, a considerable achievement that can't be overlooked.

Valverde's decision to use Messi as a second-half substitute was undoubtedly the story of the game. Without their inspirational leader for the seemingly eternal initial 56 minutes, his Barca teammates failed to create any significant danger upfront despite having the vast majority of possession throughout. Not having a dominant player of La Pulga's calibre as a reference resulted in the Blaugranas becoming far less incisive, particularly against Juventus' well-organised back-line.

To be fair, however, the inclusion of Messi in the later stages didn't quite change the direction of the match either. Sure, Barcelona did become more purposeful and dynamic in attacking transitions but, unfortunately, stepping up a gear at that late stage did not have the desired effect in front of goal.

Francesc live-tweeted the game as it happened:














Match Stats:


Player Ratings:

Ter Stegen - 8

Semedo - 7
Umtiti - 6
Pique - 6
Digne - 6

Busquets - 7
Iniesta - 7
Rakitic - 6
Paulinho - 6

Deulofeu - 5
Luis Suarez - 6

Subs:

Messi - 7
Alba - 6

Barcelona showed an obvious lack of quality upfront. We talked about the need for signings in January in our latest podcast, here:


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