If there was one gift has kept on giving in Italian football this season, then it is undoubtedly Juventus’ Carlos Tevez. Not only has he helped fire Juventus to the Serie A title, with his 20 league goals, but, he has just played a pivotal role in Juventus’ Champions League Semi-Final first leg triumph.
After Tevez was fed the ball in the Real Madrid box in the first half, he fired in a low shot which Iker Casillas could only parry. Parried, straight into the path of former Real Madrid youngster Álvaro Morata who tapped in with ease in the 8th minute. There was a muted celebration too from the Spaniard, which may have eased the pain somewhat for their former prodigy.
Juventus were all over Real Madrid for a sizeable part of the first half, before the tides started to turn. It was a good passage of play which saw the ball eventually arrive to James Rodriguez wide in the box, before floating a ball over into the six-yard box, for none other than Real’s talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo to stoop to head the ball home and level the scoring.
After equalising, as you can expect, the tides shifted even more in Real’s favour. Soon afterwards, the ball really should have been put into the net again, this time by James after a superb bit of play which ended in Isco firing a cross across the six yard box, Gianluigi Buffon couldn’t get near it, and from a matter of yards out, a diving James could do no more than cannon the ball off of the crossbar with his headed effort.
From then on, Real never really troubled the Juventus goal, so expertly guarded by the veteran Buffon. Even straight after half-time, Real were their own worst enemy, after a rapid Juve break. Tevez received the ball in his own half, before a rampant run which could have seen he and Morata through two-on-one resulted in Tevez going alone before being taken down by Daniel Carvajal. He got up, brushed himself down, and as Tevez has done all season he put the ball in the back of the net with consummate ease; sending Casillas the wrong way as he calmly side-footed the ball in.
Fernando Llorente was brought on for Álvaro Morata just before the 80th minute mark. Stephan Lichtsteiner played the newly introduced Llorente through, who rounded a hapless Casillas before pulling back for Roberto Pereyra from a tight-angle. Unfortunately for Juve, the striker couldn’t get into the box quick enough to support the attack, and the chance of an open goal for the striker fizzled out.
Llorente again found himself in an opportunity whereby the Italian side really should have scored another goal. This chance came in 91st minute from a brilliant Andrea Pirlo free-kick, but, Llorente just couldn’t get any sort of proper contact on the ball with his head which, if any had been applied, the ball would have flashed perhaps Casillas who was left flat-footed by the flight of the ball which had evaded everyone in the box before finding Llorente in space at the back post.
Real Madrid will be bitterly disappointed, if James had headed in from a matter of yards out to put the Spanish outfit ahead, surely the game would’ve ended in favour of them. However, they hardly troubled the Juve defence, let alone the Juve goal. Their key attacking threats were nullified; Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo were especially anonymous, whilst Sergio Ramos surely cannot go on playing in that midfield role? Marcelo was a key loss, as he was nowhere near his best or anywhere near as influential as we’ve come to expect of him down that left-hand side. But, then the same could be said for much of the Real side this evening.
On the other hand, the only thing Juve will be disappointed about, is that it should have been more than the one goal advantage they took into the 2nd leg. Could this come back to haunt them when they visit the Bernabéu?