Juventus
    Juventus
      04.11.2013 12:43 - in: Champions League S

      Since we last met...

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      Los Blancos followed European victory with a disappointing loss in the “Clásico”, but soon got back to winning ways with triumphs against Sevilla and Rayo Vallecano

      It was a case of one famous fixture after another for Real Madrid following their 2-1 victory at home against Juventus on 23 October, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men subsequently facing the most momentous La Liga meeting of them all: “El Clásico”.

      Just three days after taking on Juve, Los Blancos made the trip to the Nou Camp to tackle fierce rivals Barcelona in what is always a compelling clash given the fact that the opposition between the two sides is rooted in the concept of national identity just as much as it is in football.

      And it didn’t disappoint, as the Catalans triumphed with a 2-1 win that had thrills and spills wherever you looked. 

      The game was billed beforehand as an intriguing battle for supremacy between summer signings Gareth Bale and Neymar, and in the end it was the Brazilian trickster who came out on top seeing as the Welshman - yet to discover the glittering form he is now enjoying - departed the action on the hour after a frustrating night.

      It was the Barcelona striker who scored the opener, threading a right-footed shot through two players’ legs into the far corner after an Andres Iniesta pass had found him arriving in the box from the left wing. 

      Following a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty appeal that was controversially turned down, Neymar also provided the assist for the second. It was a wonderful finish befitting of the occasion by Alexis Sanchez, who picked up the ball outside the area, dragged it away from his marker and chipped over a helpless Diego Lopez in style from distance.

      Ancelotti’s men did manage to get one back through Jese Rodriguez, but it was too little too late and they slipped to six points behind their opposition in the La Liga table.

      Real’s next fixture was even more exciting; a 7-3 triumph against Sevilla that produced the highest goals total in a single match at the Bernabeu since the 1967/68 season. 

      Bale’s unstoppable diagonal shot into the roof of the net on his first start at the legendary ground put Los Blancos in the lead, and he got his second when a free-kick took a wicked deflection off the wall.

      Ronaldo converted a penalty to make it three before a clumsy Sergio Ramos challenge at the other end allowed the visitors back in it.

      Sevilla increased their chances of a comeback through Carlos Bacca’s tap-in, but from there the hosts really ran away with it. Benzema bagged himself a brace and Ronaldo sealed a hat-trick to ensure that they weren’t troubled by a late strike from Ivan Rakitic, who also missed a spot-kick. 

      It was a match that really did have it all, and it even produced an extraordinary first: never before in history had two penalties been given against Real at home.

      In their most recent fixture, Ancelotti’s men made the short trip to the Madrid suburbs, home of Rayo Vallecano. 

      Ronaldo, who has netted 23 times in his last 15 outings, opened the scoring by coasting past his man on the left wing and slotting right-footed past the Rayo goalkeeper from close range.

      A perfect Bale cross from the right wing then allowed Benzema to nod home with ease before Ronaldo completed a brace to follow his midweek hat-trick when more good work from the Welsh world-record signing set him up for a tap-in with 48 minutes played.

      Ancelotti’s men looked to be home and dry against the La Liga basement boys, but the hosts subjected them to a big second-half scare as they converted two penalties to set up a tense finish.

      Rayo hit the woodwork and had a number of chances to pull off what would have been a real shock, but Los Blancos held on to ensure they maintained their winning ways ahead of walking out at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday 5 November. 

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