Barcelona provided “the best response” to the “turmoil” off the pitch by convincingly beating Juventus in the Champions League, says midfielder Sergi Roberto.
It has been a whirlwind few days for the Spanish giants as they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in El Clasico on Saturday before the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu announced his resignation on Tuesday.
However, they made it two wins from two in this season’s Champions League group stage with goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi seeing off a poor Juventus side, who had Merih Demiral sent off late on for picking up a second yellow card.
“The best response we could give to the turmoil at the club is a display like this,” said Roberto.
“Everybody has been talking a lot but the team simply want to win games.”
Dembele opened the scoring when his deflected shot looped over Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal.
Messi then wrapped up the win in stoppage time when he coolly converted a penalty after substitute Ansu Fati had been fouled.
When the draw for the group stage had been made, this fixture caught the eye for the possibility of a Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi reunion for the first time in two years.
However, Ronaldo was left out of the squad after having another test for Covid-19 earlier this week, with the Portugal international self-isolating since a positive test on 13 October.
Without him, Juventus lacked bite and although Alvaro Morata had the ball in the back of the net on three occasions, each one was ruled out by the Video Assistant Referee.
Victory means Barcelona are top of Group G, three points ahead of Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv.
Barcelona almost back to their best
Barcelona have been poor by their own high standards so far this season, having won just two of their first five La Liga games, but there were glimpses of them back to their best in this game.
Their passing was at times slick with Messi unsurprisingly at the heart of the best moments.
The victory should perhaps have been by a greater margin against a Juventus side that offered very little but after a difficult week, Barcelona will take the win as a step in the right direction.
“I’m very content with the football we played, with the result and especially with the character my team showed,” said Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman.
“We created a lot of goal chances and, frankly, I think we should have finished the match off much earlier.”
Juventus feeling Ronaldo’s absence
Ronaldo made a typically blistering start to the season with three goals in Juventus’ first two games but he has not been involved since 27 September after testing positive for coronavirus.
The Italians are certainly feeling his absence having now managed to win just once in the four games without him.
They lacked a real cutting edge against Barcelona, failing to register a single shot on target in the entirety of this game.
The hosts may feel aggrieved that Morata had every one of his strikes ruled out, but ultimately Barcelona were deserved winners for a dominant display.
Offside Alvaro – the stats
- Barcelona have only suffered one defeat in their last 18 Uefa Champions League group stage games on the road, going unbeaten in each of the last 11.
- Juventus’ loss to Barcelona was just their second home defeat in their last 25 Champions League group stage games, the other a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in November 2018.
- Juventus failed to record a shot on target in a Champions League home game for the first time since 2003-04 (when Opta have this data available).
- Merih Demiral was the 22nd different Juventus player to be sent off in the Champions League, with the Italian side receiving seven more red cards than any other side in the competition (27).
- Since the start of last season, no player has been caught offside on more occasions in the Champions League than Álvaro Morata (13).
- Ousmane Dembele’s goal was his first strike scored from outside the box for Barcelona in all competitions since September 2018 against PSV, also in the Champions League. His previous 11 goals had all been inside.
- Since Lionel Messi’s first Champions League campaign in 2004-05, only Cristiano Ronaldo (38) has provided more assists in the competition than the Argentine (35).