Real Madrid 1-1 Juventus (Agg 2-3): 5 Talking Points
Former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata's second-half goal was enough to secure a draw that saw Juventus go through to the final of the UEFA Champions League. Reigning champions Real Madrid took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty, but were unable to score any more and had their title dreams dashed in the process.
The Italian champions came into the second leg with a 2-1 advantage, but knew that their job was far from done. Although the hosts put them under a lot of pressure, once Morata scored the equalizer in the second half, Los Blancos lost their way. Carlo Ancelotti's side resorted to playing long hopeful balls and didn't have the composure needed to break down a resolute Bianconeri defence.
This victory means that the Juventus are now the first non-Spanish team to beat La Liga opposition over two legs in 13 ties in the competition and will face Barcelona in the final in Berlin on 6 June.
Here are the major talking points from the game:
1. Team vs Individuals
Madrid's defeat means that no team has defended their Champions League title since the tournament was reformatted in 1992. We saw that over the course of the two legs, the better team went through to face Barcelona in the final in Berlin. While there is no denying the star quality present in the Real side, football is a team sport and irrespective of the amount of incredible individuals you have, if you don't function as a team, then you will always be punished.
That is precisely why a team consisting of some of the world's best attackers couldn't find a way past Juventus once they scored a crucial away goal at the Bernabeu. Paul Pogba, one of Europe's finest midfielders was ready to do the dirty work of defending the flank and providing his compatriot Patrice Evra with some cover.
Although the Frenchman didn't always do his job well, there was always someone else on the cover, helping out the side. Once they scored the away goal, everyone helped out in defence and even Tevez, who was supposed to be the centre forward dropped into midfield and at times, even his own box to help secure safe passage into the side's first European final since 2003.
2. Morata makes his mark in Madrid
The clash between Real Madrid and Juventus was supposed to be about two historic European giants taking on each other. It was supposed to be about two World Cup winning central midfielders in Andrea Pirlo and Toni Kroos, two ageing, but, still very good goalkeepers in Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon, Carlos Tevez against Karim Benzema, but it was decided by a 22-year-old Spanish striker who was ushered out of Real Madrid last summer.
Alvaro Morata, who joined Madrid at the age of 16 and came through the ranks before moving at the start of this season, described his passage into his second consecutive Champions League final as a “bittersweet and strange sensation”. He scored the opening goal for the Italian side in both legs and worked tirelessly until he was substituted for Fernando Llorente.
On a day that was filled with plenty of storylines and drama, it was a former Madrid player who came back to haunt Real by showing them that he could still cut it at the highest level.