Joan Monfort/Associated Press
Both clubs had already clinched a spot in the knockout stage entering the final matchday, but first place in Group G was on the line. Juventus grabbed the top position based on goal differential thanks to the play of Ronaldo and Weston McKennie at the Camp Nou in Spain.
It was the 36th all-time battle between Ronaldo and Messi for club and country, although this was the first time the legendary players faced off in a UCL group-stage match.
This match featured several significant mistakes by the Barcelona defense, which led to a pair of penalty kicks converted by Ronaldo:
Cristiano earned the first penalty himself in the 12th minute of the match, drawing a foul from Ronald Araujo in the box. Though it was a close call, the official made the call and helped the road team take an early 1-0 lead.
The second penalty came from a handball by Clement Lenglet in the 49th minute, eventually confirmed by VAR.
It was enough to continue an impressive run from Ronaldo on the road at Barcelona:
While Ronaldo and Messi were the star attractions entering the game, it was American Weston McKennie who had the best goal of the day with a beautiful finish on a scissor kick in front of the net:
United States nationals McKennie and Sergino Dest both started the match for their respective teams, although McKennie played the biggest role from the Juventus midfield.
Barcelona did its best to create a comeback, controlling 59 percent of possession while outshooting Juventus 20-8.
However, the mostly listless effort wasn’t enough to keep up with the Italian giants:
Both clubs will now advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League, but Juventus could have a lot more momentum going forward. Barcelona, which currently stands ninth in the La Liga table, has work to do to get the season back on track.