However, it wasn’t enough as an injury-time penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo saw the hosts go through 4-3 on aggregate after a Mario Mandzukic brace and Blaise Matuidi strike had levelled the two-legged tie.
Massimiliano Allegri was spot on with his tactics, but Zinedine Zidane did just enough to edge the win.
Goals – 1
Shots – 18
Possession – 62%
Tackles – 11
Dribbles – 11
Goals – 3
Shots – 11
Possession – 38%
Tackles – 9
Dribbles – 13
The Frenchman deployed a 4-1-3-2 formation to begin with. Ronaldo and Gareth Bale started in attack with Isco in support. The system was designed to contain Juve and pounce on the counter-attack.
Indeed, when they did break they looked dangerous but the Italians defended superbly to cope with that threat. As a whole though, Madrid weren’t prepared for the kind of onslaught the away side launched and Zidane had to rethink his approach in the second period.
The Juve boss stuck to a 4-3-3 formation and pushed his team forward as they attempted to force Madrid into errors. The hosts were caught off guard, while using Mandzukic’s aerial supremacy over Dani Carvajal was a clear ploy as well – he scored the opener.
Allegri then replaced Mattia De Sciglio with fellow right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner in the 17th minute, presumably to cope with Ronaldo’s threat and it was his cross that set up Mandzukic for the second.
TACTICAL TALKING POINTS
Bale was not on his game and his substitution at half-time saw Ronaldo play up front on his own. Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio were introduced as Madrid switched to a 4-2-3-1, with Casemiro going off as well.
The move was meant to generate some width for Los Blancos as Juve comfortably coped with the two pronged attack of Bale and Ronaldo. Meanwhile, it also served to occupy the full-backs who were being allowed too much freedom to get forward as Lichtsteiner did so effectively for Juve’s second.
Juve needed to start on the front foot and that’s precisely what they did.
They hassled and harried Madrid right from the start and enforced the high press as much as possible, putting pressure on the hosts’ defence missing the experience of Sergio Ramos.
Casemiro fell victim to their closing down early on and Sami Khedira’s delightful chip towards the far post saw Mandzukic make the breakthrough. Khedira and Matuidi in particular ran their socks off and didn’t allow Madrid’s midfield the time and space to find their rhythm.
Was taken aback by the way Juventus started the game and from a tactical point of view was soundly beaten in the first half. However, his half-time changes seemed to steady the ship and offer his team a new dimension in attack though he rode his luck a bit.
Rating – 6/10
Arrived at the Bernabeu with a perfectly laid plan and it was all going swimmingly. Even when Madrid got to grips with the scenario in the second half, Juve seemed to be in control before a penalty at the death cancelled out their hard work.
Rating – 7/10
Cristiano Ronaldo struck a dramatic injury-time penalty to deny Juventus an incredible comeback and send two-time-successive holders Real Madrid through to the Champions League’s semi-finals.
Los Blancos’s commanding 3-0 lead from last week’s first leg in Turin disappeared by 60 minutes. Croatia forward Mario Mandzukic produced two first-half headers and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi took advantage of goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ fumble.
Extra time seemed imminent before English referee Michael Oliver adjudged that Morocco centre-back Medhi Benatia had brought down substitute Lucas Vazquez in the box.
With legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon duly dismissed for dissent, Ronaldo stepped up in the 97th minute to lash in his decisive 15th European goal of the campaign.
YOU CANNOT CONTAIN CRISTIANO
If any more evidence was required of Ronaldo’s eternal greatness, his contributions to this incredible two-legged tie ends the debate.
In Turin, the Portugal forward’s early tap-in and staggering bicycle kick spurred talk he’d conjured the sport’s finest goal.
This time on home soil, he was not a ubiquitous presence. His five shots before injury time barely forced Buffon to strain as Madrid stared a shameful exit in the face, while six of his team-mates had more touches than his 50.
But you knew from the moment Oliver pointed to the spot he wouldn’t miss.
Madrid’s record goal scorer was calmness personified as he slammed in his 447th effort in royal white as the eyes of the world provided inspiration, rather than fear.
A special talent had decided an unforgettable contest.
15 - 15 or more goals in a single Champions League campaign:— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) April 11, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013/14 (17)
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2015/16 (16)
Cristiano Ronaldo in 2017/18 (15).
REAL DRAMA DEFINES EPIC TIE
High drama to equal the greatest scripts produced by Hollywood was present at Santiago Bernabeu.
Juventus were utterly superb for 92 minutes of intense action in the Spanish capital as they chased down an impossible 3-0 deficit.
Fueled by the superb Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and – the scorer of the crucial third – Matuidi in the engine room, they were prepared to bomb on and leave gaps in search of goals.
This bold approach – a world away from June’s meek loss to the same opponents in the final – appeared to have gifted them a lifeline until the epic scenes of second-half injury time.
Benatia’s push and kick felled Vazquez for his team’s critical first misstep, matinee idol Buffon was dismissed for dissent on potentially his final European outing and Ronaldo obliged with the coup de grace for the helpless hosts.
On the 199 previous occasions the away team won the first leg of a European tie 3-0, they progressed. Somehow, this statistic stretched to 200.
SUPER MARIO STRIKES
Los Blancos bring something special out in Mandzukic.
Their regular tormentor when representing city rivals Atletico Madrid repeated the trick in a monumental first half for the Bianconeri and their tactically astute head coach Massimiliano Allegri.
The gangly Croatia forward’s pair of towering headers – which left right-back Dani Carvajal brutally exposed – moved him onto five career goals against the 12-time European kings.
History was also made twice over. His opener clocked at 76 seconds was the quickest one conceded by Madrid on the hallowed soil of Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League, plus he also became the first visiting player in the competition’s history to score twice there before half-time.
Statistics aside, it gave Juve that great intangible – hope.
Gabriel Jesus also struck in the second minute for Manchester City in their salvage job against Liverpool, but momentum soon dissipated as a vital second didn’t follow.
Mandzukic made sure the Old Lady didn’t fade away.
With all the craziness going on elsewhere in the Champions League, Bayern Munich were happy to take a quiet night as their goalless draw with Sevilla was enough to push them into the semi-finals on a 2-1 aggregate.
Jupp Heynckes‘ side were relatively listless on the night in front of their home fans, but much wasn’t required as Sevilla couldn’t muster enough of an attack to send a scare into the Bundesliga giants.
The closest anyone came to finding the back of the net was on Joaquin Correa’s header after a free kick, which caromed off the crossbar.
Here are our Bayern ratings.
BAYERN MUNICH (4-2-3-1)
Sven Ulreich – 6: Had little to do as Sevilla struggled to threaten goal, aside from one header hitting the crossbar.
Joshua Kimmich – 7: Wasn’t flashy but did subtle things well to really make his presence felt on the night.
Jerome Boateng – 5: It appeared he had Correa marked on the free kick when the Sevilla man got a strong header on the ball and hit the crossbar.
Mats Hummels – 6: Didn’t have many opportunities to get involved in the action as the offence as a whole was stop-and-start.
Rafinha – 6: Peppered in his fair share of crosses but none of them found the mark.
Javi Martinez – 5: Nearly made a costly mistake with his attempt to play back to the goalkeeper, which was poorly hit and resulted in a chance for Sevilla.
James Rodriguez – 6: Had moments where he was in the box with the ball and could have capitalised, but left empty-handed.
Arjen Robben – 7: Produced his usual magic at times down the right flank, but couldn’t find a way to finish off any of his threatening runs.
Thomas Muller – 6: Wasn’t much of a factor in the middle as Bayern preferred to attack through the outside.
Franck Ribery – 7: Had Bayern’s best opportunity in the first half, sending a hard shot that swerved but ultimately went down the middle before being saved.
Robert Lewandowski – 6: It couldn’t be said that Lewandowski wasn’t sacrificing his body as he took several knocks before being subbed off in the 77th minute.
Thiago – 6: Was fairly anonymous in his 20 or so minutes.
Sandro Wagner – 6: Had some theatrics near the end, including an appeal for a penalty.
Niklas Sule – 6: Came on too late to play much of a role.