27.06.2015 15:59 - in: The team S

    Real overcome as Juve march on to Berlin

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    Two incredible European nights to cherish as Massimiliano Allegri’s men defeat reigning European champions Real Madrid 3-2 on aggregate to book their place in the Champions League final

    Having wrapped up their 33rd Scudetto title triumph with a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on 2 May, Juventus now had the luxury of being able to concentrate exclusively on their two remaining targets of the campaign: the Coppa Italia and Champions League.

    It was the latter hurdle that came first just three days after that winning afternoon in Liguria, with Real Madrid making the trip to Turin for a mouthwatering semi-final first leg showdown at Juventus Stadium on 5 May.

    On an electrifying night of Champions League football, goals in each half from Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez handed the hosts a 2-1 advantage ahead of the return meeting in the Spanish capital.

    It was a dream start for the Bianconeri who snatched the lead with just eight minutes on the clock through Morata’s tap-in, only for Ronaldo to level matters with a close-range header just minutes past the midway point of the first half.

    An equally combative opening to the second half swung in the hosts’ favour when Tevez broke on the counter and attracted a foul in the box from Dani Carvajal on 56 minutes, leaving Martin Atkinson with no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

    Up stepped the Argentine assassin to wrong-foot Iker Casillas and drive the ball straight down the middle of the target, a goal that proved the eventual decider of an epic tie between two of Europe’s most prestigious clubs.

    Speaking to the media afterwards, Morata said the Bianconeri could not afford to ease off in Madrid: “It’s important we don’t stop here, we need to carry on working hard and aim to go as far as possible.  Everyone’s happy for our victory tonight but it’s vital that we don’t think that the tie is done and dusted.”

    There was more to come from the Spanish frontman as, eight days later, he stayed true to his word by hitting a crucial equaliser at the Santiago Bernabeu to book Juventus a Champions League final meeting against Barcelona.

    Heading into the game with a slender advantage following the first leg in Turin, the Bianconeri saw the pendulum swing in the hosts’ favour when Cristiano Ronaldo converted from the spot on 23 minutes.

    But Morata, who swapped Madrid for Turin in the summer, had what proved to be the final say, sealing a spot in this year’s Champions League final in Berlin with a purposeful close-range finish past Casillas that ended the club’s 12-year absence from the competition’s ultimate hurdle.

    “Incredible but true,” beamed Massimiliano Allegri following the final whistle. “The lads really deserve the praise. It's an amazing night for them and for Italian football in general. I'm starting to realise just what a tremendous season we're having – perhaps beyond what anyone ever expected."

    Turning the credit back to the manager was Giuseppe Marotta, who said Allegri’s tactics were key to getting the right result: "The boss got it spot on. He could have stayed back and defended, but instead decided to keep the team high up the field. They even had a few chances to kill the game off for good.”

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