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Juventus and Monaco advance into Champions League semi-finals

It was a poor night all round for Barca as they crashed out at the quarter-final stage
It was a poor night all round for Barca as they crashed out at the quarter-final stage

Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund both exited Europe's top-tier competition on Wednesday night.

Barcelona 0-0 Juventus (Agg. 0-3)

Barcelona could not conjure another famous Champions League revival after Juventus held firm to secure their semi-final place thanks to a 3-0 aggregate victory.

The Catalan giants hit back from a 4-0 last-16 first-leg deficit to down Paris St Germain six weeks ago and they needed a comeback of similarly epic proportions at the Nou Camp on Wednesday after shipping three goals in Turin.

But the Italian champions proved a more resolute prospect and a determined defensive showing in this quarter-final second leg secured a goalless draw.

Lionel Messi twice missed the target with gilt-edged opportunities in either half but in the end, Barcelona left themselves with too much of a mountain to climb after being humbled last week.

A brace from Paulo Dybala and a goal from Giorgio Chiellini put Juventus on the brink of a last-four place, but they would have been well aware of their opponents' comeback capabilities.

Having been down and out against PSG, Barcelona produced one of the best attacking displays the competition has ever seen to triumph 6-5 on aggregate last month.

But Juve, who had conceded only two goals in nine Champions League matches this season before Wednesday night, proved far more disciplined at the back.

They served notice they would not be content to simply sit back as Gonzalo Higuain lashed over after the ball had rebounded back into his path from Sergio Busquets' attempted interception.

Juan Cuadrado then saw his overhead volley go over in an enterprising start for the visitors but Barcelona gradually started to gain a foothold of proceedings, pushing plenty of numbers forward.

They should have gone ahead in the 19th minute when a cross took a touch off Luis Suarez and rolled perfectly into the path of the oncoming Messi but he could only put his effort wide from 12 yards.

It was a significant let-off for Juventus and they were forced to sit deep as Barca continued to create chances with Neymar and then Sergi Roberto - their matchwinner against PSG - volleying over.

But Barcelona were being given precious little space in the final third and although Messi finally tested Gianluigi Buffon, who parried away the deflected effort, Juventus rarely looked overexerted.

Indeed, they perhaps should have gone ahead at the interval but Higuain could not direct Miralem Pjanic's lob past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The hosts ended the half in a foul mood after Neymar was booked for an impetuous barge on Pjanic, whose aerial challenge on Messi seconds earlier led to the Argentinian faceplanting the floor.

Their mood nearly worsened just after the interval but Cuadrado, in acres of space on the right, dragged his strike across goal while at the other end Messi cut onto his left foot and fired just wide of Buffon's right hand post.

A fourth Barcelona forward in Paco Alcacer was introduced just before the hour mark as boss Luis Enrique went for broke.

And Juventus were given another warning in the 67th minute when the luckless Messi volleyed over with Buffon in no man's land after failing to cut out a corner, with Barcelona, by this point, dominating possession and territory.

Neymar's cross just evaded the touch of substitute Javier Mascherano but Buffon still needed to get down quickly to push to safety and slowly Barcelona began to run out of steam.

They had scored three times in the final seven minutes against PSG but there was no hint of anything similar this time as Juventus cruised into the last four.


Monaco 3-1 Borussia Dortmund (Agg. 6-3)

 

Monaco secured their place in the semi-finals of the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at Stade Louis II.

Kylian Mbappe, Radamel Falcao and Valere Germain were on target as Monaco scored three goals for the fourth consecutive Champions League match.

The Germans were up against it in the second leg having lost 3-2 at home last week, the match played a day later than originally scheduled after three bombs exploded close to the Dortmund bus, leaving defender Marc Bartra in hospital with arm injuries.

Although the Spaniard was able to attend the return match in Monaco and sit with his squad on the bench as well as deliver the final part of what was most-likely an emotional team talk, there was to be no fairy-tale ending as the Ligue 1 leaders completed the job with another impressive victory.

Following a five-minute delay to kick off after the Dortmund team bus had been held up by police en route to the stadium, Mbappe fired the hosts into an early lead.

Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin hit a post with a free-kick before Falcao headed in a second for Monaco on 17 minutes to all but end the match as a contest.

German midfielder Marco Reus netted a consolation for Dortmund at the start of the second half, with Monaco substitute Germain adding a late third for Leonardo Jardim's well-drilled outfit just moments after coming on.

Dortmund were earlier left unimpressed by their delayed arrival, which the Bundesliga club said in a post on Twitter was because the bus had been stopped by police "for approximately 20 minutes without justification".

Whatever the reasons behind the travel issues, there was nothing but support for Dortmund inside the ground.

Before kick-off, the home fans showed solidarity by unveiling a banner which read: "BVB: You Will Never Walk Alone" as the anthem played out around the Stade Louis II.

When the action got under way, hopes of a recovery from Dortmund were dealt an early setback when Mbappe swept Monaco in front after just three minutes.

Defender Benjamin Mendy charged forwards down the left and shot from just outside the penalty area.

Dortmund keeper Roman Burki could only parry the ball, which fell straight to Mbappe and the 18-year-old coolly slotted into the bottom left corner.

The Germans then needed three goals without reply, and came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit when Sahin curled a 20-yard free-kick over the wall but against the inside of the post before the ball bounced along the goal-line and away.

Monaco then doubled their lead on 17 minutes following a flowing break when Thomas Lemar curled the ball into the Dortmund box from the left and Falcao dispatched a diving header into the bottom right corner.

Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel decided to make an attacking change after 26 minutes, when 19-year-old forward Ousmane Dembele replaced defender Erik Durm.

The Germans regrouped at the interval, with Tuchel again switching formations as Marcel Schmelzer replaced Sahin at the start of the second half to fill in at left-back with Raphael Guerreiro shifting to midfield.

Reus, who had missed the first leg with a hamstring injury, pulled a goal back within three minutes when he smashed a cross from Dembele into the top corner after the teenager had charged down the right.

As the hour mark passed, Monaco had a great chance to put the tie out of reach when a long ball found Falcao in space, but although the Colombian twisted past defender Matthias Ginter, he could only stab the ball over both the keeper and the crossbar.

With nine minutes left Monaco substitute Valere Germain, who had only just come on for Mbappe, swept the ball in at the far post following a run down the left by Lemar.