Juventus v Real Madrid –
Final Score/Result: Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid
Man Of The Match: Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus came into this game in desperate need of a positive result, but had to be content with a point as Real Madrid virtually guaranteed themselves a place in the next round. Juventus are now at the bottom of the points table with three points from their opening four matches. Galatasaray’s defeat at the hands of Copenhagen in the other match has opened up the race for the second place and now the Italian side will have to win their remaining two games in order to qualify for the knockout stage.
Juventus started the match strongly and dominated most of the proceedings the first half. The Italian side, buoyed by their performance at the Bernabéu, looked sharper and dominated possession. Pirlo controlled the pace of the game from the midfield, while Pogba provided the spark in the attacking third of the pitch. Iker Casillas was forced to make some wonderful saves and kept Real Madrid in the game. But Conte’s men took a deserved lead before half-time as Pogba was fouled by Varane inside the box and referee Howard Webb pointed to the spot. Arturo Vidal converted the resultant penalty with aplomb and provided a vital lead to the home side.
Real Madrid came out stronger in the second half and Juventus were pushed back to their own half. Eventually the Spanish side equalised as Martin Caceres’ misplaced pass fell to Benzema and the French international set up Cristiano Ronaldo, who put the ball in the back of the net past a diving Buffon. Just eight minutes after this goal, Real Madrid scored once again to take the lead, as record summer signing Gareth Bale scored with a wonderful strike from the edge of the box. The Welshman is slowly but surely settling into the side and scored an important goal on his first start in the Champions League for Real Madrid.
The match picked up a frantic pace during that period as both sides were stretched to the limit. Martin Caceres made up for his earlier mistake and played a big role in setting up the Juventus equaliser just five minutes after Bale’s goal. The Uruguayan international’s wonderful cross was headed home by Fernando Llorente from close range as Varane lost his man completely. It was the second mistake committed by the young defender in the game, and one which provided Juventus with a lifeline. In the end, the 2-2 score-line was perhaps a fair reflection of the game and one that still keeps the Italian side in hunt for a place in the next round.
Antonio Conte was pleased with side’s performance in the first half, but felt that the busy schedule might have contributed to side’s drop in concentration in the second half.
“My team played a great game tonight – we played very well especially in the first half, just like we had planned to. It’s the sixth game in 18 days for us and it’s normal to be a little tired. Of course when you feel tired against players like [goalscorers Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Gareth] Bale it’s tough, but despite this we did well. I think Iker Casillas was the man of the match tonight.
“We deserve more points than we have, but when you face a team like Real Madrid, who have players that can turn the match around in a few minutes, there’s not much you can do. I am happy because I saw my players fighting on the pitch, they were brave, they did not fear Real Madrid and this is what we have to do because we are growing up. We know we have a lot of hard work to do, but we proved on the pitch that we can close the gap on the greatest teams. We started this journey not long ago and if you think about that then you have to congratulate my team.
“We can play at their level – we had already proved that in Madrid two weeks ago. We have something to say in this competition. I think we feel stronger after this game. We recognise that it’s only the pitch that it’s decided who is going to win or lose.” – The Juventus managed told the press.
Carlo Ancelotti on the other hand was pleased with his team’s second half performance and seemed contained with the point they received from the game.
“I’m leaving here feeling satisfied with my team’s second-half performance. The reaction was very good on our part. After the break we were much better in terms of courage and aggression. We defended very deep in the first half in order to control [Paul] Pogba and [Claudio] Marchisio. We changed later in the game, with things improving after the restart.
“We wanted to limit their ability to cross and with the help of Sergio Ramos we were more comfortable. Ramos is a great player who can play in a variety of positions. Playing him [on the right] was a temporary move as I know he prefers to play in the centre. He played out wide without problems tonight, however. I also think that [Karim] Benzema worked very hard [picking up] Andrea Pirlo.” – The Real Madrid manager said.
Juventus v Real Madrid – Statistics
Cristiano Ronaldo just can’t seem to stop scoring. The Portuguese winger scored Real Madrid’s first goal with a wonderful finish and set-up Gareth Bale to score the second. That was Ronaldo’s eighth goal in the group stages this season and the former Manchester United winger has now equaled the record of most number of goals scored in the group stages, and he has two games in hand to decimate that record. The above heat-map depicts his movement and positioning on the pitch against Juventus.