6 June 2015

JUVENTUS 1 (Morata 55)
BARCELONA 3 (Rakitic 4, Suarez 68, Neymar 97)

Alba touched back Messi's cross field pass to Neymar but a poor first touch forced him back, he played in the onrushing Iniesta with a great pass inside Barzagli (who should not have started ahead of Ogbonna) and Rakitic fired in his centre. Buffon, diving the wrong way, made an excellent one handed save to deny Alves. There were at best half chances for Moratta and Suarez.

Barcelona managed to blow a 5 on 3 counter attack from a Juventus corner. Lichtsteiner muscled Neymar off the ball as he tried to gather a stupid pass out of defence, Marchisio lost Rakitic with a back heel sending Lichtsteiner down the right, big game bottler Tevez fired straight at Ter Stegen and Moratta tapped in the rebound. Juve were beginning to take a grip of the game at this point but Buffon gave Barca their goal lead back with terrible handling, failing to make a routine save from Messi and Suarez tapped in the rebound, who of course had lost Evra to score. Neymar had a goal chalked off for handball. Barcelona knocked the fight out of Juve at this stage. The ref awarded 5 minutes of injury time then changed his mind, allowing Barca to snatch a flattering third after breaking from a Juventus corner, Messi and Pedro combining for Barcelona's other €80 million striker to score.

Luis Enrique's Barcelona are very different from Guardiola's and has more in common with Real Madrid under Ancelotti or Bayern under Heynckes in that the midfield give the ball to the forwards and they attack at pace to do the damage. Tikki Takka is, mercifully, history (apart from at Bayern for another season).

Barcelona won't repeat because no one repeats, the transfer ban (if they don't find a way to weasel out of it) will ensure fatigue is going to set in sooner of later. Hundreds of millions in debt, two centre forwards who cost around €80 million each and a transfer ban for child trafficking. Platini must be proud of his new European Champions. Their defence is shit but it doesn't matter. They've already replaced Xavi, they could line up the midfield with hackers and they'd be almost as effective.

A while back I wrote Juventus would not win the UCL with Tevez and Llorente as centre forwards. Tevez is a big game bottler, he will always be a big game bottler. He didn't score in two games against Monaco, he didn't score against Monaco or Real Madrid. Dortmund? Well look at where they finished. Juve might have had a chance if they had the Vidal of 2013-2014 but he's been a shadow of his former self since injury, they should sell him while he still holds value. Pirlo may as well not have played for all the good he did. Buffon of course is prone to making mistakes and right on cue fumbled to let Barcelona back in just as his teammates were threatening to make a serious contest of the game. He should do himself and his team a favour and retire. He's finished, he's been finished for years. Barzagli is garbage as well.

Going ahead things look bright for Juve. I don't expect them to be back in the final next season or the season after but within five years if Allegri stays, definitely. Morata's strike-rate isn't amazing but he scored important goals. Juve are one paced and they're addressing that, they've already signed Dybala. His form dipped once his head was turned but now he has his move he'll lay waste to defences. They also own Berardi, the next big thing in Italian football. He's tall, unlike many forwards today, has explosive pace and shooting and an eye for a pass. He's the total package. 42 goals in three seasons at Sassuolo and he's still only 20. I'm not sure if they'll recall him for next season but if Allegri decides to follow the three forward trend (BBC & MSN), he'll have the youngest in Europe. Pogba will be a huge loss when he inevitably leaves. Juve are said to have taken in €100 million from the UCL due to their share of the market pool (with no other Italian teams making it to the KO stages). They're set to dominate domestically for some time, recruitment has been excellent in recent years. Juve don't sign stars they sign players to address weakness' in the squad.

Attendance : 70,442
Assists : Iniesta, n/a, n/a, Pedro