Real Madrid are well on course for yet another Champion League semi-final berth as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday.
The visitors took no time to establish a foothold in the tie, with Cristiano Ronaldo breaking the deadlock just three minutes in after ghosting past Giorgio Chiellini to score from Isco’s cut-back. Juventus were the more dominant of the two sides for much of the first half thereafter, but Real Madrid defended resolutely to keep their lead intact.
Post the break though, Los Blancos grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck as Ronaldo struck an unbelievable overhead kick to double his and his side’s tally for the night. Paulo Dybala was then sent off moments later to kill off any hopes of a Juventus comeback.
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) April 3, 2018
The tie was then effectively put to bed a few minutes later as Marcelo rounded off the win to make it 3-0. Real Madrid’s progression to the semi-finals for the eighth consecutive season is now more or less confirmed, bar an unlikely Juventus comeback. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Keylor Navas: 8/10
Navas did not have a great deal of glove work to do on Tuesday despite Juventus’ dominance in the first half. The Costa Rican did, however, make two fantastic saves to deny Gonzalo Higuain and keep his clean sheet intact, the first in particular, being breathtaking. His distribution was top notch on the night, and helped build up plays effectively from the back.
Dani Carvajal: 7/10
Carvajal’s impact in the game grew alongside Real Madrid’s dominance. Lacking end product for much of the first half, the Spaniard improved drastically when Lucas Vazquez came on, linking up well with his compatriot. At the back, he had his hands full with the double threat of Kwadwo Asamoah and Alex Sandro, but dealt with the danger smartly.
Raphael Varane: 8/10
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane vs. Juventus
In typical fashion, the Real Madrid center backs were fantastic in yet another massive Champions League fixture. A world class pairing. pic.twitter.com/Mbn1doUFcF
— EiF Video (@EiF_Highlights) April 3, 2018
Varane was in his elements on Tuesday, letting very little past him apart from a couple of nervy moments early on in the game. The Frenchman used his pace to good effect, making up ground quickly and making a number of last-ditch tackles to keep Navas’s area clear of danger. Showed a lot of adventure in forward movements as well.
Sergio Ramos: 8/10
Ramos was a colossal figure against Juventus, with a second half booking the only blip in a near faultless outing. A block early on in the game on Dybala showed that he was in the mood on the night, and absolutely nothing went past him in the air. The yellow card does render him unavailable for the second leg, but that won’t be much of a concern now.
Marcelo wasn’t exactly at his best, especially defensively with Douglas Costa giving him a hard time. But, his impact in the final third was huge, first opening up play brilliantly to release Isco who found Ronaldo for Real Madrid’s opener, before grabbing a goal for himself that put the tie to bed.
Luka Modric: 7.5/10
Modric was a picture of calmness in the first half, when Real Madrid had their backs to the wall. The Croat helped slow down the game whenever he got the ball to give the visitors some control, before completely running the show in the second half. Did tread a fine line with a few silly tackles, but came through unscathed.
A game of two halves for Casemiro. The Brazilian struggled to a great extent in the first half, with Juve’s high press leading him into trouble. But, he composed himself in the final 45 minutes, absorbing the hosts’ attacking pursuits to a great extent while also building up play alongside his midfield partners.
Toni Kroos: 7.5/10
The other half of the Real Madrid creative powerhouse duo was in his elements too on Tuesday. Kroos was the deepest of the midfielders, picking out teammates with ease. A 95% passing rate is testament to just how good he was on Tuesday, with a large chunk of his passes played long. Could have had a goal for himself too, if not for the crossbar.
A surprise selection on Tuesday, Isco was key to Real Madrid winning the game comfortably. His nippy movement created space for Ronaldo to exploit and always had the Juventus defenders second guessing themselves. The Spaniard set Ronaldo up for the first goal as well with a cut-back into no-man’s land.
Isco was the only player to start Juventus vs. Real Madrid to complete 100% of his passes.
Earning his manager’s confidence. 😉💯 pic.twitter.com/qCUFNFfRVt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 4, 2018
But, what was the most mind boggling part of his performance on the night was an astounding passing rate of 100%, with all 54 of his passes reaching its intended target. A turnaround could be on the cards, just when his future has come into question.
Karim Benzema: 6/10
Benzema just cannot seem to catch a break. The Frenchman was devoid of quality service throughout his stint on the pitch, but he also struggled to find himself in pockets of space, with the Juventus defenders shutting him down effectively. The only minor positive from him was his link-up play, as he helped create chances whenever he dropped deep.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 10/10
What more can you say about a player who just refuses to let age get the better of him. At 33, most players start counting their days in top level football, but Ronaldo doesn’t seem to be slowing down just yet. He showcased his remarkable poaching abilities minutes into the game as he ghosted past Chiellini to score the opener with ease.
He didn’t have much to do for the rest of the first half, but he turned the game on its head in the second period. A wondrous overhead kick had even the staunchest of Juventus fans applauding, and he capped off a perfect night with the assist for Marcelo’s goal. On course to break his own record for most goals in a single Champions League campaign.
Most goals: 119 ✔️
Only player to score in 10 straight games ✔️
Most final wins: 🏆🏆🏆🏆✔️
Most goals in a season: 17 (2013/14) ✔️
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 3, 2018
As far as the records are concerned, several tumbled on the night. Ronaldo now has as many quarter-final goals in the Champions League as Juventus themselves. The goals saw him score in a record-breaking 10th consecutive Champions League match. He is also now the leading goalscorer in Europe, with 39 to his name. Is there any stopping the Portuguese?
Lucas Vazquez: 7/10
Vazquez’s substitution was a moment of genius from Zidane, with the Spaniard’s energy and movement forcing the tiring Juventus defenders into submission. Stretched the game to create space for Ronaldo in the middle and he might just have had a goal for himself, if not for a smart save from Gianluigi Buffon.