Real Madrid came back from the dead to qualify 4-3 (Agg) vs Juventus
My Goodness we have been spoilt rotten by some amazing Champions league games this season. As if the Roma vs Barcelona game wasn’t mad enough, we were treated to another cliff hanger in the Madrid fortress The Bernabeu last night. Real Madrid seemingly in the Driver’s seat in the fixture with a handsome 3-0 lead were literally seconds from being taken to Extra time by an Inspired Juventus side. The Italian side had fought bravely and tenaciously to tie the fixture at 3-3, only to suffer the most unfortunate of anti-climaxes in time added on (90+mins). But is that not what makes us love the game?
Mario Mandzukic had netted a first half brace for the Old Lady, before Blaise Matuidi pounced in the 60th minute to level the tie on aggregate.
Then just as we thought we were set for extra time, Gianluigi Buffon was then sent off after referee Michael Oliver awarded Los Blancos a last-gasp penalty at the Bernabeu.
Medhi Benatia brought down Lucas Vazquez in the dying stages of the match, leaving the English official no choice but to point to the spot.
Up stepped Ronaldo to lash home his spot-kick into the top right corner beyond the outstretched arms of substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
After Roma stunned Barcelona to knock them out on away goals last night, their Serie A rivals were causing their own shock waves against Spanish opposition.
Juventus began the game on fire as It din’t take long for Max Allegri’s side to silence the home crowd, after Mandzukic headed home in just the second minute.
Buffon sees red as he takes his protests a bit too far for the Referees liking
A scorer against Madrid in the Champions League final last season, the Croatian international seized his starting spot with Paulo Dybala suspended following his red card in Turin last week.
The 31-year-old then doubled Juventus’ lead with another header in the 37th minute, leading Zinedine Zidane to haul off Gareth Bale at half-time.
Starlet Marco Asensio came on in his place, while Vasquez replaced Casemiro at the start of the second half as Madrid pushed for an all-important goal.
But it was to be Juve who would strike first in the second period, with former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi pouncing on a calamitous gaffe from goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Isco then threatened for the home side, but Buffon parried away his low attempt from outside the box after it took a wicked deflection off Benatia.
French centre-back Raphael Varane then wasted Real’s best chance of the second half in the 81st minute, as his effort from 12 yards out whistled inches wide of the post.
Ronaldo – who had a relatively quiet game by his standards – then spurned a huge opportunity after he miscued his header at the back post.
And with the tie looking as though it was heading for an extra 30 minutes, Vaquez was bundled over by Benatia in the 93rd minute.
Juevntus were left apoplectic, with Buffon in particlular left enraged over the decision.
He was subsequently shown a red card for dissent by Oliver in his last-ever European match before retiring.
Ronaldo – displaying nerves of steel – fired home the winner in dramatic fashion to score in his 11th consecutive Champions League match and sparked jubilant celebrations around the ground.
Real left it late to book their place in the last four for a record eighth straight campaign, where they could face Liverpool, Roma or Bayern Munich.