Javier Saviola's late strike gave FC Barcelona the advantage at the Stadio Delle Alpi, scoring a crucial away goal to take back to Spain for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Juventus FC.
Paolo Montero put the Italians ahead on 16 minutes but, with Barcelona's first real chance of the match, Saviola struck to make the Spanish side favourites to advance to a semi-final against either Real Madrid CF or Manchester United FC.
The influential Czech midfield player Pavel Nedved shrugged off a thigh injury to start but Juve were without David Trezeguet as coach Marcello Lippi surprisingly started with just one recognised striker in Alessandro Del Piero.
Montero on target
After a ragged opening period the Serie A leaders began to assert themselves and went ahead on 16 minutes. Nedved swung in a cross from the left which was met by Montero. The centre-back headed the ball down to Del Piero whose overhead kick was blocked by the Barcelona keeper Roberto Bonano. The loose ball, however, fell back to Montero who rifled a shot high into the goal.
Juventus came into the match with the worst record of all the teams in the last eight and, having struggled in particular on their travels, were desperate to get off to a strong start. Mauro Camoranesi almost engineered the cushion of a second goal on 32 minutes, combining well with Igor Tudor before sending in a cross that the Croatian headed over from six metres.
At the other end, Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon was in confident mood, dominating his area as Marc Overmars and Michael Reiziger looked to open the Juve defence from the flanks. The Spanish side, however, were restricted to efforts from distance, and a Patrick Kluivert header and long-range strike from Riquelme aside, Barcelona rarely theatened before the break.
Xavi comes close
Eight minutes after the restart that changed. Overmars crossed deep from the right to Xavi Hernández who hit a left-foot volley with power but straight at Buffon. Two minutes later, however, Juve might have made it safe. Gianluca Zambrotta cut the ball back to Davids whose shot was blocked but the ball broke to Del Piero who drew an excellent diving save from Bonano.
But it was the Spanish side that struck next. On 78 minutes Reiziger broke down the left and cut the ball back to Saviola. The Argentinian striker swept the ball goalwards and it deflected off Montero and low past Buffon for a crucial away goal.
Late Di Vaio miss
As Juve pushed forward, Patrick Kluivert found space to dart into the area and Buffon had to race off his line to save well with his legs. Then deep into injury time Marcelo Zalayeta's cushioned header sent Marco Di Vaio through on goal, but the substitute put his shot wide and with it may have gone Juve's chances of a semi-final place.