Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time penalty to book Real Madrid’s place in the Champions League semi-finals after losing the second leg 3-1, but winning the tie 4-3 on aggregate.
Juventus had wiped out Real Madrid’s three-goal advantage from the first leg with Mario Mandzukic scoring twice before Blaise Matuidi levelled the tie at 3-3 after an hour.
But with the tie heading towards extra-time, Madrid were awarded a penalty following Mehdi Benatia’s challenge on Lucas.
Gianluigi Buffon was shown a red card by Michael Oliver for protesting the decision, leaving Ronaldo to score his 41st goal of the season from the spot past substitute keeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Trailing 3-0, Juventus needed a positive start to get back into the tie and Mandzukic gave the Bianconeri the perfect start by heading home Sami Khedira’s lofted cross to the back post with 90 seconds played to make it 1-0 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate.
Gareth Bale came close to restoring Madrid’s three-goal aggregate lead but his shot was saved by Buffon and Bale’s follow-up back heel found the side netting.
In a wide open start to the game, Isco had the ball in the back of Juventus’ net, but the flag was up for offside as he followed up after Buffon spilled Ronaldo’s shot.
Definite penalty for Real Madrid? Or way too harsh on Juventus? 🤔 Ronaldo with the goal to put Real through. Red card for Buffon. Sent off in quite possibly his last Champions League game. Mental. pic.twitter.com/iPZIl5X6vg— Alex (@alex_rowell) April 11, 2018
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was forced into a substitution after just 17 minutes, replacing Mattia De Sciglio with Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Juventus were indebted to their 40-year-old goalkeeper Buffon who denied Isco with a fine save after Ronaldo’s through ball created the chance.
That save proved to be crucial as three minutes later Mandzukic scored with another back post header, this time from Lichtsteiner’s cross from the right.
In added time at the end of a pulsating first half, Raphael Varane saw his header from six yards out rebound off the bar after being picked out by Toni Kroos’ delivery from the left.
With half an hour to play, Juventus had wiped out Real Madrid’s three-goal advantage. Keylor Navas failed to collect a cross into the box and Matuidi was in the right place at the right time to poke the ball home for an improbable equaliser.
Real Madrid searched for the first home goal of the tie and Isco forced Buffon into another good save as he turned the shot past the post for a corner from which Varane’s shot on the turn sailed wide.
Ronaldo, from a similar position from where Mandzukic score his second, failed to find the target with five minutes remaining in normal time.
The Portuguese played a pivotal role in the conclusion to the game. It was his header that Lucas was about to control when Benatia was adjudged to have fouled the Madrid man six yards from goal.
Buffon took his protests too far and was sent off by the English referee before Ronaldo showed great composure to fire his penalty past Szczesny to send the defending champions through to the semi-finals.
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.