Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus: 4 key battles that decided the game
Real Madrid survived a scare at the Santiago Bernabeu, as a controversial penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo in the last minute of injury time was enough to seal their entry into the final 4 of the UEFA Champions League.
Just when it looked like Juventus had pulled off an absolute miracle courtesy Mario Mandzukic's two headers and a howler from Keylor Navas, referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot in the dying moments to break the hearts of the visiting fans, also sending Gianluigi Buffon off to add insult to injury.
As always, there were a few individual battles that played a crucial part in ultimately deciding the result of the fixture. Here's a look at 4 such battles that had a say in the final outcome:
#1 Mario Mandzukic vs Dani Carvajal
Mario Mandzukic has been a thorn in Real Madrid's side ever since his Atletico Madrid days, and nothing has changed since then. Once again, the Croatian proved to be a nuisance for the defenders with his aerial prowess.
In the absence of Sergio Ramos, it was always going to be hard for Real Madrid to command the air and Juventus made use of the opportunity by whipping crosses into the Madrid box as often as they could.
Dani Carvajal was the one tasked with marking Mandzukic, and their difference in height was the deciding factor. Carvajal was also solely at fault for the opening goal, as he drifted into the box instead of sticking to his man - resulting in a free header for the Juventus striker.
The second goal was almost a copy of the first, as Mandzukic leapt higher than Carvajal and nodded one into the near post off a Lichtsteiner cross. Things might not have been as difficult for Carvajal had Madrid's captain played, but this was a horrid display from the Los Blancos' right back.