Carlos Tevez’s penalty handed Juventus a crucial lead as they beat Real Madrid 2-1 in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg.
Juve, crowned Serie A champions for a fourth year in a row on Saturday, were rewarded for a bright start when former Real striker Alvaro Morata opened the scoring from close range in Turin.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were soon pegged back, though, as Cristiano Ronaldo – who scored three times against Juve in last season’s group stages – headed home a close-range equaliser from James Rodriguez’s sublime cross.
Holders Real wasted a great chance shortly before the break when Rodriguez somehow headed against the crossbar from three yards with the goal unguarded.
That miss ultimately proved costly as Juve were awarded a penalty just before the hour when Dani Carvajal felled Tevez, and the Argentina forward emphatically dispatched his spot-kick.
Juve therefore hold a narrow advantage ahead of next week’s return leg in Madrid, although Ronaldo’s away goal – his 76th in the Champions League, one more than his great rival Lionel Messi – could prove crucial.
The hosts took the game to Real from the off, and a poor clearance from Iker Casillas almost led to a chance for Arturo Vidal.
Casillas was then equal to Morata’s audacious lob, but the ex-Real man did get on the scoresheet in the eighth minute.
Tevez’s low shot across the face of goal was only parried by Casillas and Morata tapped in the rebound, the striker recognising the goal against his former club with muted celebrations.
Real gained a foothold in the game after the opener, as Toni Kroos’ low 25-yard drive drew a fine stop from Gianluigi Buffon before Ronaldo raced clear and dragged a left-foot shot wide.
And the holders’ pressure told in the 27th minute. An extended period of possession led to Rodriguez looping an exquisite half-volleyed cross from the right of the penalty area that Ronaldo nodded home from a yard out.
The visitors should have had the lead heading into the break as another flowing attack ended with Rodriguez heading Isco’s delivery against the crossbar when it appeared easier to score.
After a cautious opening to the second half, the tie took a twist in the 57th minute.
Tevez led a lightning Juve counter-attack from his own half and Carjaval sent the former Manchester City man tumbling when he tried to nick the ball, leaving referee Martin Atkinson with no choice but to award a penalty.
And there was no mistake from Tevez, who drilled his shot straight down the middle to register his 29th goal of another prolific season.
Real threw numbers forward in an attempt to find the leveller, and Ronaldo let Juve off the hook when he failed to guide Rodriguez’s left-wing cross on target.
Juve could have had a third in injury time when substitute Fernando Llorente headed Andrea Pirlo’s teasing free-kick straight at Casillas, but Allegri is sure to be satisfied with a one-goal lead.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!