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UEFA Champions League
November 5, 2013
• Juventus Stadium, Torino
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 40696
A. Vidal 41'
Cristiano Ronaldo 52'
G. Bale 60'
That's my cue folks, it's been a wild ride. Till next time.
A pulsating, captivating showdown from start to finish, and a fair result on the balance of play. The final score stands at 2-2, with Vidal and Llorente doing the business for the hosts, while the two most expensive players ever, Bale and Ronaldo, score the goals for the visitors. Madrid need to mark time and wait for the conclusion of Copenhagen's game against Galatasaray to discover if they've made the knockout stages. For Juventus. it's going to be a long slog to progress. With only three points from four games, they need to pick up wins fast.
90' + 4'
That's all she wrote, full time!
90' + 3'
Last minute of injury time as Madrid hold an uninterrupted spell of possession.
90' + 1'
Into added time now as Di Maria flights a cross just over the coiffed locks of Ronaldo.
Vidal is unmarked at the top of the D, and squeezes in a shot through some bodies, but Casillas is behind it all the way and smothers.
Off goes Llorente, clinical tonight, and on comes Giovinco.
Legs just beginning to tire after what was a cutthroat tempo throughout the second half. Meanwhile, Conte plotting another change on the sidelines.
Time running out for Juve, who are struggling to mount a final offensive in the face of a spell of Madrid possession aimed at killing off the game.
Nearly a first touch of gold from Quagliarella, whose snap shot from 12 yards is smothered down low by the excellent Casillas!
Benzema's night is ended as Jese Rodriguez comes on to spell him for the last few minutes. Change for Juve as well, as Tevez is replaced by Quagliarella. Solid outing for Tevez, while Benzema, though quiet, still set up Ronaldo's goal.
TEVEZ! Not a bad attempt from the Argentine, who lets loose a swerver right at Casillas. The Madrid skipper makes the save, but pushes it right back into the mixer, with Pepe cleaning up from the rebound.
You would have to say that this score is just about fair on the balance of play. Juve's first half dominance has been met, so far, every step of the way by Madrid. This draw does more harm than help for the Bianconeri though, as they are poised to move to the bottom of Group B should Copenhagen, still leading Galatasaray 1-0, come out with a win in that game.
Still, it's hard to be too tough on Ronaldo in this game, with a goal and an assist to keep Madrid in contention. He's struck an incredible (even for him) 21 times in 17 games in all competitions this season. His eight goals in the Champions league so far is better than the total managed by over 20 teams - including Barcelona. The Portuguese also has 59 total UCL goals, and 29 in his last 23 games. Incredible.
Ángel Di María
Ronaldo fires the free kick right into the wall, and shanks the rebound badly over the top, to cheers of irony from the home fans.
Bonucci with a late, lethargic and careless tackle on Ramos, who was about to leave him in the dust. He know exactly what he was doing, and picks up a yellow card for his troubles.
Yellow Card Leonardo Bonucci
First change of the game, as Alonso makes way for his heir apparent, Illarramendi.
Well, I called a 2-2 draw pre-match, and my prediction is 21 minutes plus stoppage time away from coming through. With that brag out of the way though, I for one will love to see some more goals in this one, let's just go all out. There's no doubt that both teams are capable of that!
JUST WIDE! Benzema had a glorious opportunity to send Madrid back into the lead, but just cannot keep his shot down enough and it evades the crossbar by inches! Fans were already celebrating a goal!
Varane has now been directly culpable for both Madrid goals on the night. He conceded the penalty for the first, and was manhandled just now for the Juve equaliser.
Assist Martín Cáceres
Goal Fernando Llorente
A fantastic cross from Caceres is met by Llorente, who muscles in behind the confused Varane, and plants his header home! What a goal! What a game!
LLORENTE TIES IT UP AGAIN!
Bale takes aim from an identical position to his marvelous breakthrough moments earlier, but this time, Buffon is well positioned at his near post to smother.
What a turnaround in this second half from Madrid. They've now scored in their last 20 away games in the Champions League, with that spell seeing them lose only four times. They're on course for the win that will put them in the knockout rounds as it stands.
Assist C. Ronaldo
Goal Gareth Bale
Madrid storm in front in the most emphatic fashion. A scintillating counter attacking goal. Ronaldo does supremely well to bring down a long ball from Marcelo, and he duly tees Bale up 25 yards from goal. The Welshman runs into the box right at Asamoah, and drills a splendid shot into the bottom corner!
MAGNIFICENT FROM BALE!!!!!!
Pogba finally sparks the home side into life wit a determined run and cross down the left. Marchisio gets a touch inside the six yards box, and it's heading in, but Casillas pulls off another WONDERFUL SAVE, with Pepe blocking Marchisio's rebound on the line! Well then!
We have had neither sight or sound of Juventus in this second half. All the good work and enterprise from the opening period has evaporated, as Madrid are running all over them.
ALONSO HITS THE WOODWORK! A stunner from the Spaniard, who crashes a 30-yard piledriver off the crossbar with Buffon rooted to the spot!
Ronaldo is already topping the Champions League scorers chart, with that goal giving him eight for the season already. More pertinently, it moves him level with Ruud van Nistelrooy's record tally for the group stages - with two games after this one still to play.
Assist Karim Benzema
Goal C. Ronaldo
Just as I finish singing his praises, Caceres goes and craps the bed. A horrendous 'attempt' at a back pass instead releases Madrid on the break. Benzema deftly slips in Ronaldo on the left, who fires home a lovely finish on his right peg.
MADRID TIE IT UP!
Ronaldo gets his first chance to really sprint at the Juve defence and he has half a yard on Caceres, but the former Barcelona defender recovers his position well to shepherd the forward into an unsustainable position, where Vidal sprints in to complete the job and win back possession for Juve.
Another sneakily positive omen for Juventus is the strangely incredible fact that they have twice beaten Real Madrid on November 5 - winning 1-0 in the second round in 1998, and emerging with a 2-0 triumph from the Bernabeu in 2005 (via Uefa).
Early sight in the second half for Bale after Benzema laid the ball off well, but he strikes a half-volley into the ground and Casillas watches it go harmlessly wide.
Here we go again!
Madrid's chances have been few and far between, but there's been a few signs that the visitors harbor some danger on the counter attack. Bale has already tested Buffon, but they'll need more from their midfield trio, which has been ground into a fine powder by Pirlo, Vidal and Co. The defence has also not been stellar, though they have been bailed out more than once by Casillas. A lot of work for Madrid to recover in the second half, which comes your way in just a bit.
Quite a page-turner this game, captivating not only for the talent and gravitas on show, but the quality of football on the pitch as well. Juventus sit deservedly in front thanks to Vidal's penalty moments before the interval, after a spot-on penalty call from Howard Webb. The hosts have been largely in control, with Pogba, who won the penalty in the first place, a particular menace. With Copenhagen also leading Galatasaray 1-0 at the break, things are looking good for the Bianconeri.
45' + 1'
The match is temporarily halted after a lone minute of added time. HALF TIME: JUVENTUS 1-0 REAL MADRID.
OH NO! Ronaldo and Benzema get in each others way right on the six yard line when attacking a low Bale cross! They both force each other off the shot, and it's unclear who got the final touch but Buffon is not tested as the ball flies over the bar! Clean contact and that was 1-1.
Yellow Card Andrea Pirlo
Booking here for Pirlo, who drags back Alonso near the centre circle in a battle of the midfield pivots.
Ronaldo attempts to get Madrid back on terms by whipping in a deep free kick right on top of a piles of bodies in the box, but Barzagli heads away excellently!
Varane by the way was booked for conceding that spot kick. You can't deny Juve this lead though, they've shown all the initiative so far.
Penalty Goal Arturo Vidal
SUPERB PENALTY! The Chilean opens his body up and hammers it into the top right corner. Absolutely no chance for Casillas!
Yellow Card Raphaël Varane
Pogba stole a yard or two on the run against Varane, and the defender catches his compatriot with his trailing leg. Difficult to call on first glance, but replays show that Howard Webb made an excellent call. Vidal to take...
Casillas nearly goes from hero to zero with a mad dash off his line from the resulting corner, and Ramos is forced to bail him out after he misjudges the flight of the ball with Pogba lurking!
Vidal lets fly from 25 yards, which takes a slight nick off a Madrid shirt, but Casillas does enough to read it and pushes it around the post! Another stop for the skipper!
Pogba has been the star so far for Juve, but Tevez has also put in an effective shift so far, drifting between the attacking midfield and forward lines. The Argentine forward has not scored in this competition since 2009, during his time as a Manchester United player - which seems a lifetime ago.
Yellow Card Luka Modric
Modric with a late tackle to stop Pogba, who was about to charge Juve into the opposition half. First booking of the game goes to the Croatian, who will now miss Madrid's next European showdown against Galatasaray.
Ronaldo quickens the pace on the break, but Benzema is woefully lazy in his attempts to get back from an offside position. The Portuguese instead goes for Bale on the right, who takes it onto his left peg and is lets fly with a Spurs special...that is bent comfortably wide of the far post. Still, you do NOT want to allow him the sort of space in front of the box that Pirlo just did.
A really positive start to the game for the Old Lady, but they've found the door shut by the effervescent gatekeeper Casillas. Buffon has also been called into action to thwart Bale during the opening exchanges. Both No. 1's captain their respective sides tonight, with over 200 matches of Champions League experience shared between the pair.
Tevez teases in a brilliant pass towards the far post for Llorente, who ghosts in behind Marcelo and plants a side-footed shot that's heading into the far corner, but a MAGNIFICENT save from Casillas has gotten rid of the danger! Two clutch stops already for the keeper!
It's all been one way traffic squarely in the direction of Casillas' goal. Madrid's respite on the counter has been few and far between, and though the hosts have not created much in front of goal, their pressure is beginning to tell. There are goals in this one, no doubt.
After a Juve sequence of hot potato with the ball at the top of the box, Pirlo finally puts an end to the endeavor with a shot from well out, but it hardly fares better than Ronaldo's attempt minutes earlier, nestling high into the stands.
Ronaldo concedes a dumb free kick against Marchisio, lashing out at the Italian after what he felt was an overzealous challenge. The referee is quick to quell the fires of petulance, awarding a free-kick to Juve.
Vidal drags Ramos inside with a speedy move infield from the left flank. He spots a gap at the near post, and goes for it immediately with a low strike, but Casillas saw it all the way, and smothers.
Ronaldo takes aim amid a sea of whistles from the Juve crowd, which only seems to strengthen his resolve as he has a crack from over 30 yards. It goes sailing into the nosebleed section.
Juventus were bossing the game for a long spell, but a terrible giveaway from Vidal offers Madrid a respite, and Alonso sends Ronaldo away on his bike down the left. The Portuguese is upended by Caceres, but the referee deems the challenge to be legal.
Pogba is running the show! A scintillating bit of footwork by the French midfielder frees him of two markers on the left, and he bends a delightful ball into the box with the outside of his boot. Llorente is eying the finish, but Pepe gets their first and almost hacks it into his own net, but for a FANTASTIC reflex save from Casillas!
Bale has his first meaningful touch of the game, nipping the ball off the toes of the sleepy Caceres, and angling for the bottom corner, but BUFFON IS EQUAL TO IT!! Fine save in the end, and the first real chance of note for either side.
Tevez squares up to Ramos in the box, and tries to slip by him around the outside, but referee Howard Webb was excellently placed to spot that, and denies the forward any sort of retribution on Ramos, waving play on.
Good news for Juventus, as Copenhagen have taken a 1-0 lead against Galatasaray in the other Group B clash.
It's been more cut and thrust than anything so far. Madrid just about shading the opening exchanges, with Ronaldo coming close to getting on the end of a counter against a static Juve defence. Signs that matters can open up shortly.
No need to remind anyone of the history of this fixture. These sides have faced each other 15 times, including the 1998 Champions League final, where Predrag Mijatovic's lone goal secured the trophy for Madrid. Interestingly, there has never been a draw in the 15 previous meetings between these sides, which has averaged a paltry two goals per game (via Uefa). Rather shoots my pre-match prediction in the foot.
Pogba tries to test the alertness of Casillas with a long-legged drive through the midfield. He's allowed space to shoot by the rusty Alonso, but despite having time to pick his spot, he can't find the target.
It's been simply an exercise of keep ball from the visiting side to start the match. A game of patience and practicality, as they make Juve chase the game. The fans are quite annoyed at this state of affairs, and are letting their players know with a chorus of boos and whistles raining down from the stands.
Here we go folks!
Just enough time for a little pre-match prediction. There's no stopping this Madrid side from scoring at the moment, but their wobbly defence could play into Juve's hands. If the Bianconeri are truly an elite European side, then they should be able to get something from this game. I'm backing a relatively high-scoring 2-2 draw.
The teams are psyching themselves up in the tunnel, and make their way onto the pitch to a strangely epic sample of the Champions League anthem, before the ever-familiar tune belts out around the ground.
Cristiano Ronaldo has already notched seven goals in the tournament already, and is closing in on Ruud van Nistelrooy's eight goal record for the group stages (via Uefa).
Juve will need all the omens that they can get though, as this is practically a do or die tie for them with only three group matches played. They sit third in the group, two points behind Galatasaay in second, and should Madrid and the Turkish outfit (vs Copenhagen) both win tonight, then the Old Lady will face a nearly insurmountable five point gap with only two games left to play.
Real Madrid can book their place in the knockout stages with a win tonight in Turin - though their record in this city has been fairly dismal, with five straight losses stretching back 51 years.
Gareth Bale, who finally came out of his shell with a double during the 7-3 epic against Sevilla last week, will patrol the flanks for the visitors alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, with the enigmatic Karim Benzema leaging the line. A fairly standard midfield for los Blancos, manned by Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira and Luka Modric, though new Madrid hotshot Isco is on the bench.
Carlo Ancelotti has been publicly seething about Madrid's recent defensive performances, and tonight, has chosen Pepe and Raphael Varane as his central pair in the back four. Marcelo will operate on the left as usual, while Sergio Ramos has been drafted into his old position at right back.
Juve also play virtually the same back four that fell in Madrid on the previous matchday, with Leonardo Bonucci replacing Giorgio Chiellini, who is banned after his controversial sending off during that showdown.
Antonio Conte has lined up his troops in a 4-3-3 formation, with Claudio Marchisio operating in an interesting role out wide on the left flank. Expect a lot of overlapping from his supporting left-back, Kwadwo Asamoah as the midfielder looks to move infield behind lone striker Fernando Llorente and affect play.
REAL MADRID SUBS: Diego Lopez, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Di Maria, Isco, Illarramendi, Rodriguez.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Casillas; Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Alonso, Khedira, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
JUVENTUS SUBS: Storari, Ogbonna, De Ceglie, Padoin, Isla, Giovinco, Quagliarella.
JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Buffon; Caceres, Barzagli, Bonucci, Asamoah; Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba; Marchisio, Llorente, Tevez.
The teams have been confirmed, so let's have a look.
Greetings one and all, and welcome to the big one. Juventus host Real Madrid in Turin, in what is shaping up to be an electric fourth matchday of Champions League action. I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your designated scribe for all the action.
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