Yesterday I was able to watch the Champions League match between Barcelona and Juventus and it was an excellent match. These 2 teams had it easy with their group, they were the only 2 top-notch teams and it was clear since the beginning they were going to finish in the top 2 positions. The only doubt was which one was going to be first and second.
The advantage of finishing in the first position is that in the round of 16, teams that finished in the second position are paired with teams that finished in the first position. So usually, finishing in the first position of the group means facing a weaker team in the next round. Sometimes there are exceptions because powerful teams can finish in second place sometimes, and weak teams can sometimes finish in first position. Especially if the entire group is full of weak teams. This isn't common but sometimes there are groups with no top-notch team.
What Juventus and Barcelona were playing for was the privilege of finishing in the first position of the group. Barcelona was in a much better position because they have beaten Juventus in their first match in Italy 0-2, and this meant that Juventus had to either win the match with a 3 goal difference or winning it by at least 2 goals difference but scoring at least 3 goals, so for example, a final result of 1-3 with a Juventus victory will still result in Juve taking the first position.
The difference in goals is important because in the Champions League group stage when teams have the same number of points, the criteria for deciding who goes on top is based on the match between the tied teams. However, if in those matches the teams scored the same amount of goals, then the one who scored more goals as a visitor takes the top spot.
In the case of Juventus vs Barcelona, in the end, both teams finished with the same amount of points, 15. In their first match in Turin Barcelona won 0-2, in their second match in Barcelona Juventus won 0-3. So in the end, Juventus was able to take the first position from Barcelona and will likely face an easier team in the round of 16 which increases their chances of qualifying to the quarter-finals.
Since the beginning of the match Barcelona seemed like a very weak and demoralized team, Juventus was overwhelming them in a way that reminded me of the historic match against Bayern a few months ago that finished 2-8. Juventus isn't as energetic as Bayern of course but they clearly felt much more confident than Barcelona. In the first 20 minutes, the match was already 0-2 after a penalty from CR7 and a tremendous volley goal from inside the penalty box by McKennie.
Juventus was much more effective than Barcelona with their shots. Messi was the best player in Barcelona and the one who tried the hardest to score a goal with several shots from outside the penalty box but these were all stopped by Buffon, including a good freekick.
After the second goal, the match cooled off a bit. I think Juventus wanted to wait until the second match to go for the third goal and didn't want Barcelona to score their first goal in the first half, so the pace of the match was very reduced. This changes at the beginning of the second half of course, in the first few minutes there was another penalty against Barcelona, this time it was due to a handball. CR7 was in charge of the penalty as usual and unsurprisingly he scored again. The third goal put Juventus in the first position and now the team with the urgency to score not 1 but 2 goals was Barcelona but ultimately they were unable to score even a single goal and conceded the first position of the group to Juventus.
This is another disappointment to Barcelona that also suffered a defeat in their last national league match against Cadiz. The team is clearly going through extremely rough times and it is unclear what will happen in their near future and if they are going to achieve a good performance sometime in the season. For the moment their season has been the worst one I can remember.
Later today I will watch Real Madrid match against Borussia Mönchengladbach. This is a special group because anything can happen, the 4 teams can be either eliminated or qualified for the next round.