Highlights: Juventus 2-1 Real Madrid; Defending Champions humbled in Turin
Juventus got the better of 10-times Champions League winners Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at the Juventus Stadium in Turin. Alvaro Morata’s opener was cancelled by Cristiano Ronaldo, but Carlos Tevez’s penalty sealed the deal for the recently crowned Serie A winners.
Both the managers put out attacking XIs with Juve playing 4 at the back while Real Madrid played Isco in midfield to accommodate the trio of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. Karim Benzema was deemed not fit enough for the match.
The home side started the match the stronger of the side with Iker Casillas needing to be sharp to deny Arturo Vidal a clean shot. Morata tried lobbing the Spaniard soon after Pepe’s header set up the shot for the former Madrid striker.
In the 8th minute, Morata got his reward. Claudio Marchisio’s pass found Carlos Tevez free on the edge of the box and the Argentinian took a shot before unleashing a shot which was palmed into the 22-year-old’s path, who put the ball into the empty net. Prior to this goal, Madrid had not conceded a goal away from home in the Champions League for 452 minutes.
Juve’s goal acted as a wake-up call for Madrid. Ronaldo increased his goal tally for this season to 54 in the 27th minute with a free header. James lobbed the ball across the goal and Ronaldo ghosted past the defender to head home the equalizer. The away side had a glorious chance to take the lead when James was found free inside the box after Marcelo’s cross. The Colombian’s first-time header crashed against the crossbar when it looked like it was easier to score.
The half petered out to a close as both teams tried to create chances without committing too many men forward. Gareth Bale, with 14, had been totally anonymous in the first half as stats showed that he had 6 touches less than his goalkeeper in the entire 45 minutes.
12 minutes into the second half, the home side were awarded a penalty. Tevez’s brilliant run from the halfway line found him one on one with Dani Carvajal, who tripped the striker inside the box and the referee had no qualms in pointing to the spot. The 31-year-old smashed the ball into the center as Casillas dove to his left. This was Tevez’s 50th goal for the Old Lady since joining them in 2013.
Carlo Ancelotti reacted quickly and put in striker Javier Hernandez in place of Isco while Massimiliano Allegri switched to a back 3 as Andrea Barzagli came on. The message was clear from the Juve bench – keep the score as it is and take the lead to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The defending champions couldn’t break down a resolute Italian defence and substitute Fernando Llorente failed to head home the crucial third goal for Juve as the Italians held on for a famous victory.
Man of the match: Carlos Tevez