An excellent start to the Champions League semifinals, as Juventus beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the first leg, beginning with Alvaro Morata scoring his revenge goal, Cristiano Ronaldo equalizing and Carlos Tevez scoring from the penalty spot to win the match in the 58th minute.
For all of Martin Atkinson’s leniency with Real Madrid throughout the match, it was impossible of him to ignore the foul by Dani Carvajal on Tevez before that penalty, while Marcelo clipped Morata outside the box to take him out of the play. Carvajal wasn’t booked, but Atkinson couldn’t ignore the foul, giving Juventus the penalty kick, leading to a goal and win they deserved.
Later on in the match Carvajal was booked. It should have been a sending off, but Atkinson allowed Real Madrid to get away with a lot more than he did for Juventus players. Not that it mattered. The Italian champions four years in a row had more dominant moments and stretches, their tactics working effectively against a Real Madrid without form or shape, relying completely on individual skill.
A strong start for Juventus created two chances from exactly the same spot. Once it led to Arturo Vidal getting confused in the box, but the other time it was a shot at goal, Iker Casillas parrying the shot poorly and Morata coming up from behind the defense to poach the goal and settle a score with his former club, which didn’t give him the chance to star for them.
Real Madrid slowly got into the match and managed to create some pressure, but most of it amounted to long range shots that didn’t really bother Gianluigi Buffon. Eventually, one mistake in the Juventus defense allowed James Rodriguez to slip by, and somehow Cristiano Ronaldo was the man left numarked, allowing him to score his 76th Champions League goal, once again taking the lead.
Real Madrid lost all shape and momentum after conceding the goal from Carlos Tevez, and were never really close to equalizing. Their good moments ended when the first half did. Juventus played the counter attack well, and as Real Madrid became more desperate in their attempts to equalize, so did Juventus’ options open up. However, Fernando Llorente, slow, clumsy and lacking any sort of urgency, showed why he’s been relegated to the bench.
This one goal win means nothing in terms of qualification. Real Madrid are worth a goal or two in every match they play, so despite the loss, it might be a result they can live with going back to Madrid. But bigger than the result was the consequence for Italian football, or maybe just for Juventus, showing they have a place among Europe’s top four clubs, and their day of challenging for titles again isn’t’ far away.