Real Madrid went down to Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final and now need to fight hard in the return leg to make it to the final.
Juventus achieved the near-impossible as they managed to put up a solid display against Real Madrid on Tuesday. The Italian club won the first leg of the Champions League semi-final with a 2-1 scoreline taking them a step closer to the final. Real Madrida s performance throughout the game was far from spectacular and The Whites deservedly lost the game.
Here are four things we learned from the semi-final encounter.
A bad day in the office for Ramos and Bale
When Carlo Ancelotti started Sergio Ramos in the midfield for the third consecutive game, you could see he was asking for trouble. The Spaniard did a great job in that position against Atletico, because Simeonea s side prefer to allow their opponents space and time on the ball. However, against Juventus, Ramos showed exactly why he is not a midfielder and the constant pressing from the Italian side was something he just could not deal with. Another player that was played out of his natural position was Gareth Bale. Bale, naturally a winger, was made to play alongside Ronaldo in a 4-4-2 and the Welshman, who was returning from an injury lay-off, could not do justice to the role. Bale failed to take a single shot and none of his crosses reached the desired target. The winger was largely invisible in one of Reala s most important games of the season.
Sergio Ramos couldn’t pass water tonight.
a Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 5, 2015
Carlo Ancelotti needs a wake-up call
When your team is level at half time in the Champions League semi-final despite a below par start to the game, you should thank your stars and make amends. However, Ancelotti once again failed to realise the importance of timely substitutions. Marcelo was having a terrible day and the Brazilian did a shambolic job while defending. Yet Ancelotti did not take him off and overlooked Fabio Coentrao, who definitely offers more than Marcelo in terms of defence. That move proved costly as another one of Marceloa s mistake led to Juventusa second goal, which eventually cost them the game.
James and Isco were Real Madrida s silver lining in an overall poor performance by the team. Bale was clearly the poorest man out on the field and it was understandable as he had returned from an injury and straight away made to play out of his natural position. Despite it being evident that the Welshman needed to come off, Ancelotti made the bizarre move of taking Isco off to bring on Chicharito. Isco was showing signs of brilliance throughout the game and could have helped bring Madrid back on level terms but the Spaniard was taken off with almost 30 minutes of game still to be played.
Old is gold
Andrea Pirlo and Giorgio Chiellini are definitely not the youngest or fastest footballers. Yet, the duo had the most impact in a game full of young and explosive talents. Pirlo was highly effective throughout the game and his calculated passing was accurate and classy. The bearded midfielder had a great game and rarely allowed the Real Madrid midfield to create any chances from the centre. Playing behind Pirlo, it was Chiellini who had the most impact in the game. The central defender did an excellent job and managed to keep one of the worlda s best attacking players in check. The Italian was strong in aerial duels and put on a brave show against a formidable attack. Apart from the duo, who did their job at the back, upfront it was Carlos Tevez defying the odds. The former Manchester United striker combined wonderfully with his much younger partner, Alvaro Morata. The pair was responsible for both the Juventus goals and if the Italian side make it to the final, they surely will be the heroes of the tie.
The tie is very much alive
Juventus have never lost a tie in European competitions after winning the first leg with a 2-1 scoreline. However, that does not mean that the Italian club should be celebrating. In a weeka s time they will have to travel to the Bernabeu to play arguably their toughest game of the season. The Bernabeu is not an easy place to win for the visitors. Having conceded an away goal, Juventus will be eliminated if they lose by a 1-0 margin. Having learned his lesson, Ancelotti will not go easy on his former team when they visit the Spanish capital. At their own fortress, Real Madrid play their best football. The second leg promises to be far more exciting and lively than the first and the tie is far from over yet.