Juventus undoubtedly deserved their place in the Champions League semi-finals after they beat Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate. As in the first leg, the centre-backs Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini played starring roles during the goalless draw at the Camp Nou. Not even vociferous support from almost 100,000 home fans was able to break down the rearguard action from Massimiliano Allegri’s side as they kept the likes of Messi, Suarez and Neymar out for 180 minutes.
Bonucci’s performance in Catalonia was absolutely excellent. He was universally lauded as he got across to cover Barcelona’s wide men without leaving space elsewhere. He was cultured at the back but not afraid to keep it simple when necessary. It was a form of vindication for him after past events as he himself acknowledged when the draw was made and you could see the impact of the result at the final whistle. Chiellini will remember this feat on the European stage for a long time as he was able to make his mark on both legs. With bravery and sheer defensive ability, he kept the Catalan side’s stars quiet with Luis Suarez under wraps like never before.
Ahead of tomorrow’s draw, Italian football can enjoy the result born from our famous defensive and tactical solidity which reaffirms the ability of Serie A sides to compete at the top level.