Led by Paulo Dybala’s brilliant first-half brace, Juventus crushed Barcelona 3-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal in Turin. Fresh off a wild comeback against Paris Saint Germain, the Catalan side will now have to clamber out of yet another steep goal deficit if they want to move on to the semifinals.
It’s not out of the question considering their improbable comeback against PSG last month, where they overcame a four-goal first-leg deficit, but if Dybala is on his game and Juventus sit back and defend as well as they did today, Barcelona will need another miracle to advance. Lionel Messi is still Argentina’s—and the world’s—greatest gift to the sport, but his countryman Dybala has made a name for himself, too. Nicknamed la joya, or “the jewel” (which is far better than “the flea,” atomic or not), Dybala coolly curled a ball around Marc-André ter Stegen in the seventh minute:
Fifteen minutes later, he did this:
After a first-half Messi goal was called offside, a second-half header from Juve legend Giorgio Chiellini, and a few blown Barca chances, the match ended 3-0. Barcelona pillar Andres Iniesta, who couldn’t put away an equalizer in the first half, sounded mildly optimistic after the game, saying: “When you don’t do things well you get punished. We don’t feel as bad as in Paris but we have another big mountain to climb.”
They’ll play the second leg of the quarterfinal at Camp Nou next week. If you liked the desperation with which they threw themselves at Paris’s defenses, you’ll love the forthcoming sequel.