A late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty meant that despite losing 3-1 on the night, Real Madrid denied Juventus a remarkable comeback and progressed through to the Champions League semi-finals after winning 4-3 on aggregate.
Zinedine Zidane made two changes to the side that won 3-0 in the first leg, with Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema making way in the starting line up for both Jesus Vallejo and Gareth Bale to come into the team. As for the visitors, Massimiliano Allegri made four changes from the first leg. Out went Andrea Barzagli, Kwadwo Asamoah, Rodrigo Bentancur and Paulo Dybala whilst in came Medhi Benatia, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi and Mario Mandzukic.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Juventus to overturn a three-goal deficit at the Santiago Bernabeu, and if they were to stand any chance of reviving their Champions League hopes then Allegri’s side needed an early goal, and that’s exactly what they got.
Inside the second minute of the game, Douglas Costa drove towards the Real Madrid defence before Sami Khedira clipped a delightful ball in towards the far post, where an unmarked Mandzukic was waiting to head the ball beyond Keylor Navas.
It was a start nobody predicted, and it was very nearly 2-0 just five minutes later. Costa again found himself driving at the defence and put a low driven cross into the box which was only parried by Navas. The ball fell into the path of former Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain, but he was denied by a good double save from the Costa Rican goalkeeper.
After a bright start by the visitors, Madrid thought they’d scored and killed off the tie after a Ronaldo shot stung the gloves of Gianluigi Buffon before Isco followed up with a delicate chip over the Italian and into the net. However, the goal was ruled out as the Spaniard was judged to have been offside when Ronaldo got his shot away, much to the frustration of the home fans.
Madrid then seemed to ease into the game after a nervy start, however, the nerves of the Madrid fans soon increased dramatically just 10 minutes before halftime. After coming on as a substitute, Stephan Lichtsteiner beat Marcelo down the right-hand side and swung a dangerous ball in towards the six-yard box, which Mandzukic was able to get his head on.
Navas was able to get a palm to it, however, was unable to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net and it certainly was game on from there. In the space of 40 minutes, Juventus had cut the aggregate lead from three goals to just one and had the Champions League holders on the ropes in their own backyard.
The home side was able to create one last chance before the half-time interval, but Raphael Varane saw his header from Toni Kroos’ free-kick cannon off the crossbar and cleared. Real looked a shadow of the side that dominated Juventus in the first leg, and the Italians came out for the second half needing just one goal to send the game to extra time.
The second half began with both teams creating chances, with Madrid looking to bring the game to Juventus rather than sit back and defend their slender lead. Unfortunately for them, their defence was beaten for a third time on the hour mark.
A routine cross from Costa on the right-hand side was seemingly swept up by Navas in the Madrid goal in what looked like a routine grab. However, the Madrid number one made a calamitous error and spilt the ball in the mouth of the goal, leaving Matuidi to tap the ball into an empty net and the Juventus comeback was complete.
By the 80th minute, Madrid had had just one shot on target in the second half as the fans in the stands grew increasingly frustrated by Juventus’ valiant defensive display. However, just as it looked as though the game was heading into extra time, a moment of controversy came.
Across from Kroos came in towards the back post which Ronaldo headed down into the path of substitute Lucas Vazquez, however, Benatia came in from behind and bundled him over with referee Michael Oliver awarding a penalty in the third minute of added time. Buffon was then sent off for his protests which meant Wojciech Szczesny was brought on to face the penalty.
It was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who stepped up to take the spot-kick and duly delivered, smashing the ball into the keeper’s top left corner to send Real Madrid through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. It was so nearly the most remarkable comeback in recent memory from the Italians, however, Real Madrid survived the scare and progressed winning 4-3 on aggregate.
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) April 11, 2018
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 11, 2018