With the score at 3-0, Juventus will need a miracle when they take on Real Madrid in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight.
Real won the first leg at the Allianz Stadium by a comfortable 3-0 margin, with a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo and a goal from Marcelo. That was the first time that Real Madrid beat Juventus at home in 56 years, with their last victory coming in 1962.
Zidane’s men are coming off a narrow 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the La Liga and they are currently placed fourth in the Spanish top flight. Juventus beat minnows Benevento Calcio 2-4 at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito and they are they have a three point lead atop the Serie A table.
Tactics & Team News
Zidane will not be able to call upon the services of captain Sergio Ramos, who is suspended and the injured Nacho Fernandez. They remain the only two absentees from a squad and the Frenchman is expected to use the same 4-3-1-2 formation which was used in the first leg.
Keylor Navas is expected to retain his place between the sticks for Real Madrid, with Marcelo and Dani Carvajal starting in left and right back respectively. Jesus Vallejo is expected to start in the center of defence alongside Raphael Varane.
Luka Modric and Casemiro are expected to come back into the starting XI and join Toni Kroos in midfield. Isco is expected to start in central attacking midfield role, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema leading the line for Los Blancos together.
Probable Starting XI(4-3-1-2): Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Jesus Vallejo, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
Massimiliano Allegri will be without the services of Andrea Barzagli and Federico Bernardeschi through injury, while Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur are suspended for this match. However, he will be able to welcome back Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia for this tie.
Allegri is expected to use the same 4-2-3-1 like the last time, but this time with a few changes in personnel. The indispensable Gianluigi Buffon will start in goal, with Alex Sandro expected to return to his normal left back position from further up the pitch for this match.
Chiellini will likely be joined by Medhi Benatia at centre-back, with Mattia De Sciglio retaining his place at right back. Blaise Matuidi and Miralem Pjanic are expected to form the midfield pivot instead of Rodrigo Bentancur and Sami Khedira, who started in the previous game.
Further upfront, Mario Mandzukic is expected to start on the left wing, with Juan Cuadrado coming in on the right flank. Douglas Costa is expected to play in a more central role, with Gonzalo Higuain leading the line for the Biaconeri at what was once his old stomping ground.
Probable Starting XI(4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Mattia Di Sciglio, Medhi Benatia, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi; Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain
- Real Madrid have lost only 3 of their last 35 matches in UEFA Champions League.
- Real Madrid have faced Juventus 20 times, winning 11 matches, losing 7 and playing out 2 draws.
- In that time, Juventus have scored 23 matches against Real Madrid, while conceding 28.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is this fixture’s top scorer, with 9 goals to his name.
- In 8 games at the Santiago Bernabeu against Juventus, Real Madrid have won 5 games, lost 2 and drawn 1.
Player To Watch
Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo
Former King of Spain Juan Carlos rang Florentino Perez to congratulate Cristiano Ronaldo on his wonder goal against Juventus, the Real Madrid president claims. 👑 pic.twitter.com/Gz7xYUNFZU
— Goal (@goal) April 10, 2018
The Portuguese international has scored a stunning 40 goals this season in 37 appearance. In 6 appearances against the Bianconeri, he has scored 9 goals and registered 2 assists. He has scored in every one of Real’s Champions League matches so far and he has also scored in Real’s past 10 games across all competitions.
He will certainly be the one to watch in tonight’s tie and while it will be difficult to top his brilliant overhead kick from the first leg, one shouldn’t rule it out with the former Manchester United superstar.
Real Madrid 3-1 Juventus
While their domestic form has been erratic this season, the reigning champions have been near perfect in Europe. While they do already have 1 foot in the semi-finals, Zidane’s men will certainly not take Juventus likely and will be wary of the danger that they possess.
Juventus have some superb attacking talent in their ranks, but scoring 3 goals past Real Madrid at the Bernabeu is a tall order even for them and we predict a comfortable victory for Real Madrid tonight.