Juventus
    Juventus
      11.04.2018 22:59 - in: Match report S

      Proud Bianconeri denied in Madrid

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      An all-time Juventus performance to remember saw the Bianconeri 3-1 victors at the Santiago Bernabéu, falling 4-3 on aggregate

      A stunning 90 minutes of heart, desire, passion and tactics by Juventus fell just short of an all-time comeback as the Bianconeri defeated Real Madrid 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu, falling 4-3 on aggregate after two legs in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

      A dynamic double from Mario Manduzkic gave the Bianconeri a 2-0 lead after 45 minutes and Blaise Matuidi pulled the visitors level on aggregate on the hour mark, but a penalty kick awarded to Real Madrid in the dying moments of the match was finished by Ronaldo to put Los Blancos into the semi-finals.

      THE DREAM START

      After less than two minutes, the Bianconeri got off to the perfect start as Sami Khedira’s cross was headed home by Mario Mandzukic at the far post.

      The Croatian’s first goal since January 3rd in Coppa Italia stunned the Madrid crowd and Juve nearly doubled their lead after just seven minutes as a Douglas Costa cross found Gonzalo Higuain, but he saw his shot blocked.

      The captain, Gianluigi Buffon, made multiple trademark stops through the first half keeping the dynamic Real Madrid attack at bay and Juve would make those count late in the half. Again, it was the head of Manduzkic that brought wild celebrations from the Bianconeri faithful in the rafters of the Bernabeu.

      A cross from Stephan Lichtsteiner was headed past the sprawling Keylor Navas in the 37th minute to put the Bianconeri 2-0 up on the night and just a goal behind on aggregate.

      Los Blancos reminded everyone they can strike in a heartbeat just before half-time as Rafael Varane headed a Madrid free-kick onto the crossbar just moments before the interval as Juve preserved their two-goal lead going into the break.

      THE MOMENT JUVE DREW LEVEL

      Needing just one more goal to equalise on aggregate, the Bianconeri continued to push forward and stunningly leveled the tie in the 60th minute. Navas spilled a Costa cross into the path of Blaise Matuidi and the midfielder easily tapped home to make it 3-0 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate with half an hour to play.

      Buffon again stepped up in the 78th minute to make a stunning save low to his left denying a deflected shot from Isco and it looked as if the match would head to extra-time.

      THE HEARTBREAK

      There would be no extra-time, however, as a moment that will be debated for many years to come saw Real Madrid awarded a penalty kick deep into stoppage time when referee Michael Oliver adjudged Medhi Benatia to have pushed Lucas Vazquez in the box. Buffon was sent off in the aftermath and Ronaldo scored the penalty to break the aggregate deadlock.

      The Bianconeri could not find a last-gasp winner and Real Madrid advance to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 4-3 aggregate win.

      The amazing performance can bring nothing but pride from every Bianconero and Juventus will now turn their sights back to Serie A as they host Sampdoria on Sunday evening at Allianz Stadium.

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