Champions League – Alvaro Morata haunts Real Madrid as Juventus set up Barca final
Champions League semi final, second leg, Bernabeu – Real Madrid 1 (Ronaldo 23 pen) Juventus 1 (Morata 57) – (Juventus win 3-2 on aggregate).
The Spanish striker has made no secret of the fact he had no relationship with Carlo Ancelotti and he ensured it was a satisfying return home by cancelling out Cristiano Ronaldo‘s first-half penalty to clinch a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
It extinguishes Los Blancos’ hopes of being the first team to retain the trophy in the Champions League format and sees the Old Lady end a 12-year wait to reach the final.
There was a sense of trepidation for Madridistas heading into the contest after their La Liga hopes were all-but ended at the weekend, intensifying the pressure on Ancelotti.
Fears they will finish the season without one of the big two trophies inspired thousands of supporters to greet the team coach en route to the stadium to try and inspire their side to victory.
It seemed to be doing the trick as Ronaldo’s opener put them in the driving seat until Morata broke his old supporters’ hearts to send the Bianconeri to Berlin and keep their own treble dream alive.
Pre-match: One change for Real from the first leg. Karim Benzema returns from a seven-match absence with a knee injury as the BBC forward-line are back in business at just the right time for Ancelotti. Pepe drops to the bench. Meanwhile, Juventus are buoyed by the timely inclusion of their own key player. Paul Pogba is back in the midfield following a lengthy hamstring problem. Stefano Sturaro drops out.
6′ – REAL MADRID CHANCE! Benzema outfoxes Leonardo Bonucci with a deft touch in the area but flashes his attempt high and wide of the near post. A bit rusty from the Frenchman after Juve had been exposed by a cross from the right.
23′ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-0 JUVENTUS. Ronaldo steps up and fires his spot kick down the middle. Buffon dives to his right and Real are ahead on the night. It’s 2-2 on aggregate and Real have the advantage with that away goal. Juventus aren’t happy. They feel Chiellini’s clumsy challenge on James shouldn’t have been penalised, but there’s no doubt the Italian caught the Colombian.
42′ – REAL CHANCE! A lightning Real breaks sees Bale release Ronaldo who takes a touch before flashing an early shot into the side netting… Los Blancos are at it again seconds later and this time Benzema forces a smart stop from Buffon at his near post after jinking into the left side of the box.51′ – JUVENTUS CHANCE! Claudio Marchisio lets fly from 25 yards and arrows a shot just wide of Casillas’ right-hand post.
57′ – GOAL! REAL MADRID 1-1 JUVENTUS. The Italians are level. Casillas punches Pirlo’s free kick clear, but Juve keep it alive. Pogba nods it back into the area and Morata is able to chest it down and drill a left-foot shot through the Real keeper. (Juve lead 3-2 on aggregate).
68′ – REAL MADRID CHANCE! Ronaldo feeds James 25 yards out. The Colombian turns and crashes in a swerving shot that flies a yard past Buffon’s right-hand post. The Italian keeper barely moved.
70′ – GREAT SAVE! Casillas keeps Real Madrid alive with a brilliant stop to deny Marchisio after the Juventus midfielder had been put through by Vidal’s disguised pass.
72′ – REAL MADRID CHANCE! Ronaldo jinks to the left byline and hangs it to up to the far post for Bale. There’s echoes of last year’s CL final, but this time the Welshman heads it over.
Juventus players celebrate their win over Real Madrid
KEY STATS Juventus have reached the final following three of their four European semi-final against Spanish teams.
Juve equal Barcelona and Bayern in reaching the CL final (since 1992/93) for the fifth time. Only AC Milan have more (6).
Alvaro Morata has scored four goals in his last six Champions League games. He is the best Spanish goalscorer in the Champions League this season (4 goals).
Patrice Evra has played the most CL semi-final games without losing (W8 D3). Unbeatable.
Three of the last four Champions League goals scored by Juventus have come in the 57th minute.
Ronaldo scores his 307th goal for Real in all comps. He equals Alfredo Di Stefano in 2nd all-time for Real behind Raúl (323 goals).
Ronaldo is the FIRST player to score 10+ goals in FOUR CL seasons.
Ronaldo has now scored a record 77 goals in the Champions League, level with Lionel Messi.
Real Madrid have now scored more goals against Juventus than any other team in Champions League history (13).
Ronaldo has scored five goals against Juventus, more than any other player in CL history.
Ronaldo has scored seven goals in his last seven Champions League games against Italian teams.
(Stats courtesy of Opta and Infostrada)
What now for Ancelotti and Real Madrid? Real look set to miss out on all of the major prizes this season which is sacrilege at what many perceive to be the biggest club on the planet. Rumours surrounding Ancelotti’s future have been circling all year and it looks like this disappointment will be the final nail in the coffin. Will Zinedine Zidane step in? It remains to be seen, but expect Carlo to leave in the summer.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alvaro Morata (Juventus). Felt he had a point to prove and made it in both matches. The striker reckons he didn’t get a fair crack at Real and showed them what they are missing in the best way possible. The respect he showed his old fans following his decisive strike was impressive – but someone should tell him it’s okay to show some emotion when you have just booked a place in the Champions League final.
PLAYER RATINGS Real Madrid: Casillas 7, Carvajal 6, Varane 6, Sergio Ramos 6, Marcelo 6, James 6, Kroos 6, Isco 6, Bale 6, Benzema 6, Ronaldo 7. Sub: Chicharito 6.
Juventus: Buffon 7; Lichsteiner 7, Bonucci 7, Chiellini 6, Evra 8; Pirlo 8, Pogba 7, Marchisio 7, Vidal 7; Morata 8, Tévez 7. Subs: Barzagli 6, Llorente n/a, Pereyra n/a.