Real Madrid face a defensively strong team in Juventus as they travel to Turin for the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
After toiling hard for close to three hours, Real Madrid were only able to score one goal against Atletico Madrid in the two legs of the Champions League quarter-finals. The extraordinary attacking trio of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema failed to break the perseverance of the Atletico defence. It was Chicharito who managed to finally beat Oblak, who produced some stunning saves in both the legs, after receiving a pass from Ronaldo and tapping the ball into the empty net.
As Real Madrid prepare to face Juventus in the first leg of the semi-final, it seems like their attack will have to work equally hard to break through the strong defence of the Serie A side. Juventus have won the Scudetto on Saturday with four games to spare and have conceded only 19 goals in 34 league games. In the Champions League, the Serie A championsa defence has been equally, if not more, impressive with only five goals leaked in 10 games.
The Italian giants carry the tag of underdogs while facing the reigning champions, Real Madrid. However, Juventus are absolutely capable of beating last yeara s winners as after winning the Serie A title, they can afford to put all their focus on the Champions League. On the other hand, despite having a stronger squad with bigger names, Real Madrid are marred with injury issues as Modric and Benzema will not feature on Saturday and they have a tight schedule with difficult fixtures as they look to somehow beat Barcelona to La Liga title.
The Juventus defence boasts of three Italian centre-backs who have been playing together for the past four years for the Old Lady as well as Italy. Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci have won four consecutive Serie A titles and have ample experience to deal with Reala s strength upfront.
If Real Madrid found it hard to beat the Atletico defence, the Juventus backline will be even more rigid to break through. Chiellini and co are not as aggressive as the Atletico defenders and also do not indulge in foul play. However, the trio is certainly more disciplined and can contain the threat of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.
Legendary Italian, Andrea Pirlo has urged his team to follow Atleticoa s example and fight for the full 180 minutes. He insists that Juventus will have to be rash and win the first leg.
“We have to keep a cool head, be smart and remember that the tie lasts 180 minutes. We mustn’t be rash and go out there trying to win it in the first leg. We have to follow Atletico’s example: with two minutes to go in last year’s final, they were all set to be crowned champions.”
Though it will be tough for the Real Madrid attack to fire all cylinders, especially in Turin, it will certainly not be impossible for them. They have got Bale back into the line-up and that gives them the extra pace in the attack. The return of Bale happens to be great news for Ronaldo as we saw on Saturday against Seville. Real Madrid must use their pace and make full use of the counter attacking opportunities they will get throughout the games. Beating a three man defence may just be an added advantage for a Los Blancosa . However, coach Ancelotti must make sure that the attackers dona t get burnt out in the first leg as The Whites have another challenge to face over the weekend when they host Valencia, before the second leg of the Champions League semi-final.