champions-league

Barcelona’s hopes of staging another sensational Champions League comeback fell flat against a hardened Juventus side who held the Catalans to a 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.

The Italian champions barely gave Barca a glimmer of hope of repeating their historic turnaround against Paris St Germain in the last 16 and protected their healthy advantage from the first leg by starving the hosts of space and clear sights of goal.

Lionel Messi came closest to giving Barca a route back into the contest with four strikes at goal but failed to hit the target with any of them and frequently came up short against Juve’s intimidating centre-back pairing of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.

“Juventus are a great team and they were better than us in the tie and overall they deserved to go through. I wish them the best and I think they could win the trophy,” Barca defender Gerard Pique told reporters.

“It was a very difficult result to come back from although we tried until the end. They’re Italian and they defended very well. They knew how they wanted to play and got their objective. We created chances but little by little we realised we had a mountain to climb.”

Twice European champions Juve lacked the spark and power of their thrilling first-leg victory in Turin, but there was rarely any doubt they would exact revenge for their defeat by Barca in the 2015 Champions League final by reaching the semis for a 12th time.

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