Madrid Snatches Candy From Juventus In Added Time

Apr 16, 2018, 04:41
Madrid Snatches Candy From Juventus In Added Time

Juventus were left with what Gazzetta dello Sport described as a mixture of pride and anger after their extraordinary Champions League comeback against Real Madrid was thwarted by a contentious injury-time penalty.

It was the right call, although when Medhi Benatia made contact with Lucas Vazquez on the edge of the six-yard area it was the sort of challenge that on another night with another ref might have gone unpunished. The Italian club was indebted to striker Mario Mandzukic, who put the team ahead nearly as soon as the match had started with a powerful header, before replicating the feat nearly exactly 35 minutes later.

One of the biggest shocks in European football history looked a real possibility when Blaise Matuidi took advantage of Keylor Navas' dropped cross to make it 3-3 on aggregate just after the hour mark.

As the draw took place on Friday there seemed to be a unanimous feeling that the draw was fixed, as much as we like to believe that UEFA, FIFA and everyone else are all levels of corrupt it is seriously unlikely that the semi final draw was fixed.

The Portuguese played a pivotal role in the conclusion to the game. Benatia booked and furious Juve players surround the referee, incensed at the decision.

97th minute: Ronaldo despatches the penalty into the top right-hand corner.

Real are fourth in the Liga standings and could be 18 points behind runaway leaders Barcelona by the time they play against Malaga.

They lost 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund in 2014, going through 3-2 on aggregate and scraped into the semis two years ago by the same aggregate score after a 2-0 defeat to VfL Wolfsburg.

Ronaldo, the Ballon d'Or holder, proved himself to be the best once again, stepping up under the most intense pressure to send his team through. If it is to be the 40-year-old's European farewell, it was a sad way to end.

The Italian veteran, who is set to leave Juventus at the end of the season, was given a standing ovation from the home fans as he walked off the pitch in what is likely to be his last act in a long and eventful career in the Champions League.

Buffon had been having a brilliant game, saving low from Welshman Gareth Bale and reacting sharply to keep out efforts from Isco and Ronaldo. The dream of a 3rd consecutive Champions League trophy is still alive.

But the bold move by the Frenchman paid off and the Spanish worldwide won the winning penalty for Real Madrid in the final minutes of the game.

Juventus goalkeeper Giannluigi Buffon was then sent off for remonstrating with the English referee, which led to protests from his teammates. After Barcelona let a 4-1 first-leg lead slip away to Roma on Tuesday to crash out of the Champions League in humiliating fashion, Real Madrid nearly followed them with an even worse capitulation on Wednesday.