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2017/18 UEFA Champions League, Group Stage

Barcelona reach Champions League knockouts with draw at Juventus

Lionel Messi started on the bench as Barcelona secured their passage into the round of 16 of the Champions League with a 0-0 draw at Juventus.

The Argentina playmaker was a surprise omission from the starting line-up in Turin.

But he still went close to breaking the deadlock with a free kick shortly after coming on as a substitute.

Barca knew a point would be enough to see them through and rarely threatened to end Juve's 25-match unbeaten home run in Europe in a bore draw.

Juve's Douglas Costa had the first chance of the game after two minutes, making space in the area before forcing Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to save at his near post.

Ter Stegen then dived to his left to block an effort from Paulo Dybala.

Serbian referee Milorad Mazic had a big decision to make on the half-hour mark when Barca's Paulinho stepped past Miralem Pjanic and crashed to the ground in the area.

Any contact certainly looked minimal and Mazic duly showed the midfielder a yellow card for simulation.

Juan Cuadrado then sent a volley high over the Barcelona crossbar from the edge of the area.

Gianluigi Buffon was finally called into some meaningful action three minutes before half-time, making a regulation save to keep out Gerard Deulofeu's weak effort.

Ivan Rakitic then struck the Juve post with a free kick meant as a cross which flew past everyone.

Luiz Suarez, anonymous in the first half for Barca, had an opportunity early in the second with a free kick which he curled narrowly over.

That was the signal for Ernesto Valverde to send on Messi, with Deulofeu the man to make way.

When Suarez drew a foul on the edge of the area Messi was the man to line up the free kick, but once again it flew just over the crossbar.

In the 68th minute Barca squandered a golden chance when a defensive mix-up left Lucas Digne one-on-one with Buffon.

But the overlapping French full-back opted to pass instead of shoot and the chance disappeared.

Dybala almost snatched a victory for Juve in stoppage time but Ter Stegen got down well to make a fine save.

UEFA Champions League News