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Dembele handed first Barca start against Juventus

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Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele (L) and Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi leave the field after the Spanish Liga football match Barcelona vs Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 9, 2017.<br />LLUIS GENE / AFP

French starlet Ousmane Dembele was handed his first Barcelona start by Ernesto Valverde for the Catalans’ Champions League opener at home to Juventus on Tuesday.

Dembele joined Barca in an initial 105 million euro ($126 million) deal that could rise as high as 145 million euros from Borussia Dortmund to replace the departed Neymar last month.

The 20-year-old came off the bench to set up a late goal for Luis Suarez on his debut as Barca thrashed Espanyol 5-0 on Saturday.

Dembele’s inclusion at the expense of Gerard Deulofeu is Valverde’s only change for his first European test as Barca boss.

Juventus are without the injured Giorgio Chiellini and Mario Mandzukic.

However, the dangerous Paulo Dybala, who scored twice as the Italian champions dumped Barca out at the quarter-final stage last season, is fit to partner Gonzalo Higuain in attack.



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