Barcelona benched Lionel Messi but sealed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League regardless with a 0-0 draw at Juventus.
The LaLiga leaders were largely untroubled by last season’s beaten finalists at the Allianz Stadium as they claimed a result that guarantees they go through to the knockout phase as winners of Group D.
Head coach Ernesto Valverde sprung a shock before the match by naming Messi among the substitutes, with Paulinho selected in the number 10 role in a robust-looking system.
Barca official Guillermo Amor explained pre-match that Messi was simply being rested before the weekend clash with LaLiga’s second-placed side Valencia, and his absence did little to upset Barca’s rhythm as they controlled the game for long spells in Turin, albeit without troubling Gianluigi Buffon too often.
Messi came on in the second half to try to unlock a Juve defence that was without the injured Giorgio Chiellini, but there was no way through against the Serie A champions, who are a point above third-place Sporting CP in the group ahead of the final matchday.
For Barca, attention can now turn to the top-of-the-table clash at Mestalla on Sunday, with their knockout spot secure.
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