Entering the game, Real Madrid had a nice 5-point cushion over 2nd place Galatasaray in Group B of the Champions League. Juventus, however, with just 2 points in the group stage so far, desperately needed a good result to keep their hopes alive of making it to the Round of 16 of the tournament. Great intensity from the Italians was expected, especially playing at home and against a very fragile Real Madrid defense.
Real Madrid's starting line up featured a few surprises. Bale and Xabi Alonso would start again and a much needed Raphaël Varane was back. The biggest surprise was Sergio Ramos, starting the game as a RB, a position that might not be new for the team's 2nd captain, but as bad as he has been all year, it's weird to see Ancelotti placing him in positions other than CB.
Los Blancos (or, in this case, Los Naranjas) started the match without urgency, and even so, it only took them 9 minutes to create their first chance against Buffon. Cristiano Ronaldo had a good shot from the right side of the box, and the ball barely went wide.
Three minutes later, Gareth Bale had another great chance after stealing a ball from Cáceres. His shot was a bit weak and went straight to Buffon, who had little trouble making the save.
For the first 15 minutes, Juventus got close to Iker Casillas' goal a few times, but didn't create a lot of danger.
That would change in the 16', as Pepe almost scored an own goal, trying to deflect a pass right in front his own goal area. Casillas reacted quickly and made a great save. Ramos barely tried to stop Pogba from passing the ball. He just stood there staring at the ball. His struggles continue.
From that play on, Juventus started to find themselves a lot more comfortable on the field. When they had it, Real Madrid lost the ball rather quickly. They were mostly worried about keeping their goal unbeaten. At one point, they defended even with eight players. That's far from what we want to see from the team.
On the 27', Tévez crossed the ball to Marchisio. The italian beat Marcelo and tried to score with a solid header but Casillas had yet another brilliant save, this time with his leg. Once again, Ramos did little to nothing to stop an opponent from making dangerous passes.
Other than a Bale shot in the 32', Los Blancos weren't creating anything on offence. Juventus was clearly dominating the ball. Luckily, the score was still 0-0.
Juventus' next opportunity came at the 37', when Vidal tried a long shot that was again saved by Casillas. Our GK conceded a rebound, but luckily Juventus only got a corner from it. Casillas tried to clear the cross but failed miserably. The ball bounced back to his penalty area and he failed to clear it yet again. Luckily, nothing happened. We all know the aerial game is one of his weaknesses, but, man...
It wouldn't get any better for Madrid, as Varane tackled Pogba in the penalty box, giving Juventus a PK nearing the 40' mark. Vidal didn't waste it and gave his squad a much deserved goal.
Our team would have a good chance in the 44' after a good cross from Marcelo. The ball was perfectly placed, right in front of Buffon's goal area. Both Ronaldo and Benzema tried to take the shot and only ended getting in each other's way. That was Real Madrid's best chance in the first half.
The first half was over. Juventus was the superior team. The defence was struggling again (what's new, huh?) and midfield was non-existent for Madrid. They were losing a lot of footballs and weren't recovering any. Real Madrid's best player so far was Casillas. If it wasn't for him, Juventus might've scored at least one more goal.
2nd half: Time to wake up
No substitutions were made by either team to start the second half.
Juventus started the second half without the intensity that had Real Madrid against the ropes for the first 45 minutes. Bad idea.
In the 51', Cáceres tried to pass the ball backwards, Cristiano Ronaldo deflected it and the ball fell to Benzema's foot. The french striker passed the ball to CR7 who was entering the penalty box from the left. The Commander (hi, Sepp) didn't waste the opportunity and beat Buffon to make it 1-1. That was Ronaldo's 8th goal in the tournament.
It wouldn't take long for Madrid to have another chance. In the 55', Xabi Alonso found a ball outside Juventus' area and his beautifully-struck volley went to Buffon's crossbar.
As bad as Juventus looked, they almost scored their 2nd goal of the game. Marchisio had a good chance that Casillas saved again. the italian had a second opportunity after the rebound, but this time it was Pepe saving Real Madrid deflecting the ball right on the goal line.
The game was a lot better now.Nearing the 60', Bale received a pass from Ronaldo and had a great shot that beat Buffon for the second time in the game. 2 goals in less than 10 minutes. Not bad, boys.
However, it's impossible to trust Real Madrid's defenders. In the 67', just seven minutes after Bale's goal, Llorente tied the game with a header after a great cross from Cáceres. Raphaël Varane looked terrible trying to cover the Spanish striker. He looked completely lost and Llorente didn't even have to jump to put the score 2-2. Not to be too harsh on Casillas, but it looked like he could try to intercept or deflect the cross.
The game was a lot of fun. Lots of back and forth action!
in the 67', Benzema had another shot that went just above Buffon's goal.It was tough to imagine the game ending 2-2.
Four minutes later, Illarra went in for Xabi Alonso.
In the 73', Marcelo found Ramos wide open inside Juventus' penalty box with a gorgeous cross to the right side of the field. Sergio got past the first defender but would get his shot blocked afterwards.
Just a couple minutes later, Di María took Bale's place. It would've been nice to see both Bale and Alonso play the entire game. It wouldn't take long for Ancelotti to make his final substitution of the game. Jesé went in for Benzema in the 80'.
Juventus would challenge Casillas twice with a couple of long shots but the GK had little trouble with those. Past the 80', it was still 2-2. The game turned a bit slower which was good news for Real Madrid.
The final minutes of the game didn't offer a lot. A couple offsides for both teams and that was it. It seemed like both teams looked happy with the tie. It was a bit disappointing coming from Juventus, since they desperately needed the 3 points but the game would end 2-2.
FINAL SCORE: 2-2
It's amazing how bad Real Madrid's defenders play week after week. There are always mistakes. If it's not Pepe (who was quite decent tonight), it's Ramos. If it's not him, then it's Marcelo or Arbeloa. Tonight, it was Varane, the team's most promising defender. It's just unbelievable. Ancelotti needs to do something about it, and he needs to do it now.
Casillas might've been the player of the game for the team. He kept Real Madrid alive in the 1st half. He hesitated a lot in the air and still conceded a few dangerous rebounds, but he did enough to save the team from a loss. Ancelotti's idea to use a GK on CL and another for La Liga is still terrible, though.
Great 2nd half reaction from the team as a whole. The defense improved a bit, but Varane's childish mistake cost the team the 3 points. It's fantastic to see Bale contribute and if there's a player you can always count on on this team, that's Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo's goal was his 8th in the tournament, equaling Inzaghi, Van Nistelrooy and Hernán Crespo's record of 8th goals in a group stage, a record that probably won't last for long. The portuguese star also became the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score 14 goals in one calendar year.
Overall, a decent performance after a horrendous first half.