Juventus drew with Real Madrid 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeulast night and advanced 3-2 on aggregate to reach to Champions League Final. Max Allegri’s side will face Barcelona on June 6th in the most prestigious game in club football.
Juventus defeated Real Madrid 2-1 in Torino during the first leg on May 5th on goals from Morata and a Tevez penalty. Juve took a slender lead into the second leg, traveling to Madrid.
The second leg started off pretty even with both sides possessing the ball leading to a few half chances. Then a little after the 15th minute, Juve seemed to let their foot off the pedal a bit and Real started having the better of the match. Madrid was on the offensive and began taking the game to Juve; they eventually found the breakthrough. Giorgio Chiellini made a clumsy challenge on James Rodriguez inside the 18-yard box and Madrid were awarded a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo scored placing the ball down the middle in the 23rd minute. Real went up 1-0 and would advance with that scoreline. Juventuscontinued to underperform the rest of the 1st half not creating any real opportunities. Real had a few chances to double their lead but veteran Gianluigi Buffon made a couple of good saves. Juvecould be considered lucky to only be down 1-0 at halftime.
The beginning of the second half was much like the first, with both teams having an even amount of the play. Then, in the 57th minute Casillas punched out a free kick, Vidal pumped the ball back in the box and Paul Pogba headed it across the box to findAlvaro Morata. The former Madrid striker chested the ball down and hammered home the equalizer. In the 69th minute, Juve had a chance to put the tie to bed as Claudio Marchisio slipped through the defense after a pass from Tevez, but Casillas did well to save his shot. Needing at least one goal to survive, Real Madrid kept pushing forward but could not break through. Juventus held on to advance to their first Champions League Final since 2003. 8 years ago they were in Serie B and now they face Barcelona in the Champions League Final. It’s great to see an Italian side do well on the European stage again.
A few observations from the match:
- At the age of 37, Gianluigi Buffon, can still play at the top level. I personally think he is the greatest goalkeeper of all time, definitely from among those who I’ve watched in my lifetime. He deserves to lift that Champions League Trophy.
- Andrea Pirlo struggles in fast-paced matches against athletic teams. He was playing in a gear too slow and gave the ball away too often against Madrid but I think he’ll be in better against Barcelona.
- Patrice Evra is an unsung hero on this team. After a tough start to the season, he’s done a terrific job at left back for Juve. His experience has been vital in this Champions League run. He also had a great defensive header, getting in front of Gareth Bale and saving a goal.
- It was ironic and fitting to see Real Madrid get knocked out by a player who came through their youth system and sent away while they spend hundreds of millions of dollars every summer. Alvaro Morata has four goals in his last 6 Champions League games. That sounds like a pretty good record to me.
- Either he just disappeared or Juve’s defense completely shut him down but Cristiano Ronaldo did pretty much nothing at all in the second half.
- Max Allegri deserves a ton of credit for guiding this team to the Champions League Final. Most people, including myself, thought his hiring was a bad decision last summer. He’s definitely proved his worth.
- Barcelona-Juventus certainly looks to be anentertaining matchup for the Final! When Buffon, Pirlo and Barzagli played in Berlin in 2006 they lifted a trophy… Oh and don’t forget Luis Suarez vs. Evra & Chiellini!