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Barcelona vs Juventus: A Cursed Rivalry? History suggests so

Chiellini heads past Mascherano

Juventus’ hopes of ending a 21-year-long wait for Champions League glory and winning a maiden treble were severely dashed as they were ripped apart 4-1 by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid. The Portuguese opened the scoring in the 20th-minute from a swift counter-attacking move. Mario Mandzukic pulled the Bianconeri level on terms seven minutes later with an exquisite overhead kick. However, a devastating four-minute spell in the second-half that saw Casemiro and Ronaldo bag goals in a quick succession effectively sealed the match for the designated visitors. And the final nail in the coffin came from substitute Marco Asensio right at the death as Real Madrid became the first team in the Champions League era to defend their crown.

 

The Barcelona-Juventus curse

And with the defeat, the curse of Catalan-Turin rivalry continues. You must be wondering what is the connection between this rivalry and Juventus’ Champions League final defeat? Well, the history between two of Europe’s club football powerhouses suggested whenever the duo met in a two-legged knockout tie, its winner always went on to lose the final the same season. This happened not only once or twice but on four separate occasions prior to their quarter-final meeting earlier this year. The two clubs have played each other 12 times, of which ten matches were contested via a two-legged knockout tie.

 

 SEASON COMPETITION  ROUND AGG. SCOREHOW THE WINNING TEAM ENDED UP?
 1970/71Inter-Cities Fairs Cup      2 FCB 2-4 JUVE RUNNERS-UP
 1985/86UCL      QF FCB 2-1 JUVE RUNNERS-UP
 1990/91Cup Winners’ Cup      SF FCB 3-2 JUVE RUNNERS-UP
 2002/03UCL      QF FCB 2-3 JUVE RUNNERS-UP
 2016/17UCL      QF FCB 0-3 JUVE RUNNERS-UP

The first occasion was the Round 2 of the 1970/71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup where Juventus defeat Barcelona 4-2 on aggregate but lost the final to Leeds United on away goals rule. The other time Juventus suffered the same fate before last night was back in the 2002/03 season of the Champions League when a Marcelo Zalayeta 114th-minute winner at Camp Nou helped the Bianconeri edge out the Blaugrana 3-2 on aggregate. However, the record Italian champions fell short in an All-Italian final to AC Milan on penalties.

Also Read: UEFA Champions League Final : Ronaldo’s Record breaking night at Cardiff
As for Barcelona, they have twice got the better of the Old Lady in a two-legged European match up themselves, only to end up as the tournament runner-up. The first instance was in the quarter-final of the 1985/86 European Champions’ Cup (now known as the Champions League) when they trounced Juventus 2-1 on aggregate but went on to lose the final to FC Steaua Bucuresti in a penalty shootout. Five years later, the Catalans advanced to the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final at Juventus’ expense, winning 3-2 on aggregate. However, a spirited Manchester United overcame the Blaugrana juggernaut to lift their only Cup Winners’ Cup title to date.

 

The defeat in Cardiff for Juventus means for the 5th time running, the winner of Barcelona-Juventus two-legged knockout match has once again gone on to reach the final, only to end up the second-best team in the competition. Seems like this rivalry always brings a bad omen to the winner of the match featuring these two clubs.

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