THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Pair meet in the Champions League final

icon cups6 June ~ Barcelona and Juventus meet in the Champions League final in Berlin today, hoping to add to their four and two titles in the competition respectively. They have never met in a European final before, and in fact matches between the two have been rare over the years. Their first game against each other came in the 1952 Latin Cup semi-finals, a competition for club sides from the Latin European nations of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Barcelona won 4-2 and went on to beat Nice in the final. The competition was stopped after the introduction of the European Cup.

Their next match did not come until they were drawn together in the second round of the 1970-71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, when Juventus triumphed 2-1 in the Camp Nou. Playmaker Helmut Haller and the striker Roberto Bettega got Juve’s goals, while Marcial Pina pulled one back for Barcelona with 15 minutes left. In Turin for the second leg Juve were 2-0 up after just 25 minutes, through another from Bettega and one goal from Fabio Capello; Lluís Pujol got the consolation for Barça. Juve went on to reach the final but lost to Leeds on away goals.

It wasn’t until the 1986 European Cup quarter-finals that they would meet again. Julio Alberto scored a stunning long-range strike to give Barça a 1-0 first leg lead, before they managed a 1-1 draw back in Turin – Steve Archibald heading the away side ahead, only for Michel Platini to level for Juventus.

Perhaps the most significant tie between the two teams to date was the 1991 Cup-Winners Cup semi-final. Juventus took a shock lead in the Nou Camp when Pierluigi Casiraghi benefited from a defensive mistake. However, Juventus’ defence were also in the giving mood and two Hristo Stoichkov goals, plus one from Ion Andoni Goikoetxea, gave Barcelona a lead that proved to be unassailable back in Turin, despite Roberto Baggio scoring an excellent free-kick. Barcelona lost to Manchester United in the final.

There was a 12-year wait until they played again, in the 2003 Champions League quarter-finals. After a 1-1 draw in Turin, Pavel Nedved put Juve 1-0 ahead in the Nou Camp but Xavi equalised to send the game into extra time. Marcelo Zalayeta scored from close range to send Juve into the semi-finals, where they beat Real Madrid before losing to AC Milan on penalties in the final at Old Trafford.

That gives Juventus four wins (including after extra-time) to Barcelona’s three, plus two draws. Barça will be hoping to level that up tonight. Tom Hocking

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