Chiellini, Bonucci superb as Juve knock Barca out of the Champions League
Keeping a clean sheet, Juventus played with character and composure to earn a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou and progress to the semifinal of the Champions League, 3-0 on aggregate.
Demonstrating offensive strength in the first leg and offensive might in the second, Juve played as a unit with intensity and organisation. Aggressive from the get-go, they showed no fear and were quick to press, eager for a battle. Spotting the weaknesses, Barcelona attacked on the left through Neymar but often found themselves halted by a unit that worked impeccably well together. Throwing on more and more attackers as time wore on, Barca searched for ways to pierce through an impenetrable defence but proved incapable.
Composed and organised, Juventus held firm and looked comfortable defending, playing with maturity to hinder Barcelona's ability to attack with force. It was a perfect performance that earned a great result.
You can search the world over, but you won't find a defensive partnership as effective as Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. Boasting experience, physicality and intelligence, they played with fluency and character and effectively muted the opponent. Leaders at the back, they secured Juve's progression.
Another huge Champions League night goes by, and Gonzalo Higuain isn't any closer to scoring a goal. When offered the chance for goal, the Argentine was simply too eager to strike, playing in panicked fashion as opposed to demonstrating composure and confidence to finish well. Should the opportunities for goal arise again, Higuain must forget about the occasion and the pressure, focusing instead on a calm strike.
Manager rating 9 (out of 10) -- The coach, the intellectual, the legend. Eradicating the fear that once hindered Juve's capability to produce in Europe, Allegri is a genius for finally allowing the Old Lady to play to her potential and to her strengths, as opposed to relying on intensity and relentless running to mask her weaknesses.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 7 -- A leader at the back who transmits great serenity, Buffon made one misjudgement but was overall superb at the back, reading every situation well.
DF Dani Alves, 7 -- Alves pressed aggressively and played like a champion. He was not always defensively perfect, but he ran everywhere and threw himself into every situation to ensure safety.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 9 -- He makes clearances to perfection, executed perfect tackles and closed every gap to produce a heroic performance at the back. He's the perfect version of himself when alongside Chiellini.
DF Giorgio Chiellini, 9 -- Master of the interception, Chiellini took Luis Suarez out of the game, read every move perfectly and defended like the warrior he is to ensure a perfect defensive performance.
DF Alex Sandro, 6 -- Sandro was not the pillar of strength on this occasion in the same way he was in the reverse fixture, but he provided security at the back.
MF Sami Khedira, 7 -- Impeccable. He did exceptionally well at stopping Busquets playing out from the back and provided excellent defensive cover while his tactical intelligence was in full view of the world.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 7 -- Composed, intelligent and excellent at recovering possession, the Bosnian looked to create chances when on the ball and defended with might off it, tackling with excellence.
MF Juan Cuadrado, 6 -- He always provided his teammates with an option in attack, using his pace to push forward and create problems, but he didn't always make the right choice. He produced a great challenge to halt a swift Barcelona attack in the second half.
MF Paulo Dybala, 6 -- Dybala always looked dangerous with the ball at his feet in the first half, wriggling his way past defenders. But he was keen to get back and help the unit to defend. He looked exhausted at the end.
MF Mario Mandzukic, 7 -- He is practically an entire team by himself. He pressed the opponent, attacked with strength, defended like his life depended on it and showed great composure and desire. Perfect.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 6 -- Higuain wasted a few good chances but sacrificed for the team and was always on hand to help defensively.
DF Andrea Bazagli, NR -- He offered an already strong back-line even greater security at the back to ensure a clean sheet.
MF Mario Lemina, NR -- He was given very little time to make a difference.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, NR -- He had no time to make an impact.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.