By 90Min
November 23, 2017

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was pleased with his side's character as they booked a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday evening after a goalless draw with Juventus at the Allianz Stadium. 

The Catalonians arrived in Turin knowing a draw would be enough to see them through, and the 53-year-old's game plan was obviously set up with that in mind, with Barca frustrating Juve while enjoying large spells of possession throughout the 90 minutes. 

It was a clash where chances were few and far between, but the visitors knew all they had to do was keep the hosts at bay, and Valverde was please with how his side accomplished their task. 

“After the draw in Athens we had two chances to get through", the Spaniard told the club's official website following the stalemate. 

"Here, a draw was enough but we knew that if we lost then it would all be done to the last game and that would have been dangerous. For that reason, I am happy.

“We came here with the intention of wining. We showed character because they put us under pressure, more so if they have space. 

"But we have excellent in covering and it was only at the end we have problems.”

The Juventus attack struggled to really impact the game until the final moments, where Paulo Dybala's first-time, well-struck effort from the edge of the area looked goal-bound. But Barcelona shot stopper Marc-André ter Stegen was on hand to palm the Argentine's attempt away, a vital save guaranteeing last 16 progression. 

“He is in great form at the moment even if we would like him to not have to make too many saves", Valverde said on his custodian. 

"Today, for example, he didn’t have too much to do but he is always there and he shows that when he has to make an important save. 

"The shot from Dybala in injury time was key, he was there for us as always.”


Arguably the biggest headline of the night was the omission of Lionel Messi from Barca's starting XI, a decision Valverde admitted was tough, but one with tactics in mind.

“It was a difficult decision but Leo Messi has played a lot and we thought this game would long and tough and that in the second half it would open up and we would have chances”, the Spaniard added. 

Barcelona now advance into the last 16 as winners of Group D, and will enjoy the second leg at home in the first phase of knockout rounds after the turn of the year. 

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