Champions League: Juventus hang on to beat Real
JUVENTUS 2 REAL MADRID 1
Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez struck a goal apiece as Juventus boosted their Champions League final chances with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in their first leg semi-final on Tuesday (May 5).
Morata, who moved from Real to Juventus last summer, tapped home the rebound from a Tevez strike on eight minutes to send Juventus Stadium into raptures.
The hosts were pegged back just before the half-hour thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 76th goal in the competition, a simple header that beat Gianluigi Buffon from close range.
Ronaldo scoring his goal for Real Madrid. PHOTO: REUTERS
But the Turin giants were back in front when Tevez beat Iker Casillas from the penalty spot on 57 minutes after he was felled in the area.
Real host Juventus on May 13 when they will look to make their precious away goal count as they bid to secure a second consecutive final.
However Juve, who last appeared in the last four in 2003 when they were beaten by AC Milan in the final, will feel confident of causing an upset against the record 10-time and defending champions.
Morata told Sky Sport: “We will have to play the perfect game at the Bernabeu. Above all, we have to believe we’ve done nothing yet.”
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was without injured French striker Karim Benzema, admitted Juve were having a “great” season and conceded: “We made a few more mistakes than we usually do and didn’t have much control in the opening half.
“But I’m confident our fans will push us through in the second leg.”
Allegri opted for a 4-3-1-2 fomation with Morata beating Spanish compatriot Fernando Llorente to the second striker’s spot alongside Tevez.
It proved a judicious choice. Juve raced out of the traps and after just eight minutes Morata sent the stadium wild with a simple tap-in after Casillas pushed Tevez’s drive into his path at the back post.
It was the dream start for the hosts and for the first 26 minutes Real struggled to find their rhythm.
However a lapse of concentration from Juve proved costly, James Rodriguez doing great while under pressure to the right of goal to lob over a cross which found Ronaldo somehow unmarked a metre out to nod past Buffon for a 27th minute equaliser.
The goal literally silenced the crowd, but the Bianconeri were far from beaten.
Juve took back control after the half hour, Pirlo stopping a Real counter to help set up Tevez for Claudio Marchisio to test Casillas with a daisycutter from 20 metres that shaved the upright.
Yet Real’s threat was ever-present. Minutes before the interval James saw his diving header from Isco’s delivery on the left smack off the crossbar.
As Buffon scrambled to get back into position the follow-up went just over.
Real, however, paid the price for pushing up the park and packing the Juve area at a corner 13 minutes after the restart.
When Marcelo’s drive was charged down it sparked a counter-attack by Tevez and Morata, the latter winning a penalty after tumbling under contact from Raphael Varane.
Carlos Tevez converting his penalty. PHOTO: REUTERS
Tevez stepped up to slam the ball past Casillas on 57 minutes to electrify the stadium once again.
After a few tactical changes, Real found their stride and Juve had to switch from 3-5-2 to a 5-3-2 to stop the increasingly potent Real tide.
But it was too little to late as Juventus held on.