Barcelona huffed and puffed but Juventus’ house was made of far stronger material than Paris Saint-Germain’s shack and never came down, as the hosts could do no better than a 0-0 draw Wednesday that sees the Italian champions move on to the Champions League semifinals.
As much as Luis Enrique and Andres Iniesta tried to create a positive atmosphere before the game with their optimistic news conferences, and the Barca supporters also played their part, the naked self-belief that was truly tangible leading up to the PSG game was rarely visible here.
Barca managed to restore some pride with this solid if futile display after their lifeless performance in Turin, with Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique the most willing participants, but it was no use, and now the soul-searching will begin after a second straight quarter-final elimination from the Champions League.
Barca’s fans, with the exception of those who whistled at half-time, did themselves proud, constantly cheering on the team even as the scale of the task in front grew bigger. On the pitch, Alba showed he deserves a place in the team on the biggest nights.
Iniesta’s near-anonymous display raises serious questions about how long he has left as a first-team regular. Neymar had a petulant display and Luis Suarez’s presence was barely felt.