3 reasons Juventus outclassed Barcelona in Turin
Reuters / Stefano Rellandini

Barcelona's going to need another miracle.

A combination of excellent finishing from Paulo Dybala, a timely save from ageless wonder Gianluigi Buffon, and some bend-but-don't-break defending will see Juventus head to Spain next week with a commanding advantage in its heavyweight quarter-final clash, as the Bianconeri recorded a 3-0 win at their Turin fortress in Tuesday's first leg.

After an historic comeback in the Round of 16 saw the Blaugrana overcome a 4-0 first leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain, Massimiliano Allegri will know the job is far from over for his men.

Regardless, the reigning Serie A kingpin - now unbeaten in 22 home matches in UEFA competition - took a massive step to the Champions League semi-finals on this night. Here's how:

Dybala steals the show

Clear some space in the room. There's a new contender for the throne as Lionel Messi's one true heir. Even if he doesn't want it.

Paulo Dybala, who netted two fine left-footed goals in the opening half - one a sumptuous, sneaky curler, and the other a vicious thunderbolt - said ahead of the match that he didn't welcome the comparisons between himself and his illustrious compatriot.

Related: How Paulo Dybala outshone his idol, and announced himself to the world

Inevitable as they are - Dybala is a diminutive, left-footed Argentine attacker with silky skills on the ball - the 23-year-old insisted that he wants to forge his own path, and not be constantly compared to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"People should know that I am Dybala and I want to continue to be so," the Juventus forward said. "I understand the comparisons and expectations on me from the Argentines, but I don't want to be the new Messi or the Messi of the future.

"There is only one Messi, like (Diego) Maradona. No one has ever told me that I am his heir."

Well, get ready, Paulo. People are going to start yelling it from the mountaintops now.

Mandzukic and Co. do the dirty work

On paper, it looks like a typo: Mario Mandzukic, left winger. In practice, Allegri's decision to field the industrious, indefatigable Croatian "striker" on the left side of his attacking midfield trio has been a masterstroke.

The Italian gaffer has been lauded for his ability to get all of Juventus' best attacking options on the pitch at once in his 4-2-3-1 system, but it's been Mandzukic's defensive attributes that have helped make the move work.

It's impossible to quantify the cliched traits that managers and pundits alike often obsess over: desire, fight, work rate, a willingness to "get stuck in" and battle to help your club. (And no, simply citing distance covered in a match doesn't accomplish that).

But, whatever you make of those characteristics, it's impossible to deny that Mandzukic possesses them in abundance.

The 30-year-old Croat, who had spent all of his professional career playing as a traditional striker for both club and country coming into this season, has sacrificed his own statistics for the better of the team, and it's one of the main reasons why the Bianconeri are one step away from a memorable triumph, and a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Along with opposite number Juan Cuadrado, and full-backs Dani Alves and the outstanding Alex Sandro, Juventus dominated the flanks in both directions. The quartet combined for 14 tackles, while both of Dybala's goals were crafted from wide positions; indeed, Cuadrado and Mandzukic provided the assists.

Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain - who spurned two glorious chances of his own - and the impenetrable backline get the majority of the attention for providing a sturdy spine, but the men hugging the touchline played an enormous role in Tuesday's victory.

Luis Enrique gets his team selection wrong

(Images courtesy: Reuters)

Without the services of suspended midfield linchpin Sergio Busquets, and injured Brazilian Rafinha, Barcelona bench boss Luis Enrique had an important decision to make; how, without arguably the best defensive midfielder on the planet, and the man who has been crucial to the club's recent shift to a 3-4-3 system, would he line up his lot for the daunting trip to northern Italy?

His answer was to push Javier Mascherano into midfield, and throw Jeremy Mathieu into the fire. That solution blew up in his face, spectacularly.

The little Argentine, who offers none of the distribution skills of his languid Spanish counterpart, was a massive liability for the Blaugrana.

He provided nothing going forward - which was expected - and was exposed by the buzzing Dybala at the other end. Juventus' left-footed wizard exploited pockets of space left by the Barcelona veteran all night long, including the buildup to his second goal, when Mascherano didn't, or perhaps physically couldn't, track back to prevent the Juve star from finding a huge hole inside the penalty area from which to unleash a wicked strike.

Mathieu, who was yanked off at half-time in an admission of error by Enrique, wasn't any better.

"The feelings as manager are lamentable and it's difficult to explain. Positioning was a shipwreck, I wasn't able to transmit it well," the manager, who has already announced he will not be returning next season, said after the disheartening defeat.

"I take responsibility 101 percent. We had better positioning in the second half, but the rival also let us have the ball. We created clear chances, but when you're having a nightmare like we had today you don't have that spark needed to take them.

"It doesn't matter if I think the result is fair or not, it is what it is. It was the third half off Paris and leaves a lot to be desired," he added.

"I have little appetite to talk about the future now. Even though I am optimistic, it's natural I also pass through moments when I grieve. I am 100 percent responsible and that's difficult."

Barcelona now needs to hit the net at least three times in the second leg to have any hope of advancing to another semi-final. It's a monumental task against a Juventus side that has conceded just two goals in the competition this season.

Simply put, Enrique's gameplan needs to be flawless next week.

On Tuesday night, it was the polar opposite.

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3 reasons Juventus outclassed Barcelona in Turin
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