Barcelona will face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League Final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday June 6 after the Italian champions prevented an ‘ultimate El Clasico’.
Defending champions Real Madrid had been hoping to bid for an 11th European crown against their arch-rivals in the showdown, but a 1-1 draw away from home proved enough for Juventus to qualify instead after their 2-1 victory in Turin.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty in the first half of the semi-final second leg, awarded for a clumsy challenge by Giorgio Chiellini on James Rodriguez, had put Real in the driving seat courtesy of their away goal.
But striker Alvaro Morata, up against the club that sold him last summer, supplemented the goal he had scored in the first match to put Juve back in front on aggregate and they saw out the tie to reach their first Champions League Final since 2003.
That was the season when they last met Barcelona competitively, winning their quarter-final tie 3-2 on aggregate in extra time as Uruguayan striker Marcelo Zalayeta scored the decisive goal at the Camp Nou.
Juventus players celebrate at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second-leg match against Real Madrid (Getty Images)
Ironically, Juventus then beat Real Madrid in the last four before losing the final on penalties to compatriots AC Milan after a goalless 120 minutes at Old Trafford – but if they complete the same Spanish double this time, it means they will lift the trophy.
Barcelona, however, are best-priced 4/6 favourites at bookmaker Boylesports
to win the Champions League Final in 90 minutes, with Juventus 19/4 and the draw 29/10.
The Catalan giants prevailed 5-3 on aggregate in their semi-final against Bayern Munich, with their 3-2 away defeat being only the third time they had failed to win in 31 matches since January 8.
Luis Enrique’s side are now chasing a fourth Champions League title in 10 years and their appearance in the showdown means both Lionel Messi and Neymar have the chance to end this campaign as the competition’s outright top scorer.
Messi goes into the final tied at the top of the goalscoring chart with Cristiano Ronaldo on 10 goals for the season, one ahead of his Brazilian team-mate.
2014-15 UEFA Champions League final (kick-off time 19:45 BST)
Saturday June 6