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Juventus vs Real Madrid, Champions League: Match Review

Real fall to Juve in the first leg, but leave Turin with a valuable away goal.

Michael Regan/Getty Images

Juventus won the first leg of the Champions League Semifinal tie against Real Madrid, 2-1 at Juventus Stadium.

Ancelotti played Sergio Ramos behind Toni Kroos in the midfield, and he felt the literal pressure from Juve early on. Juve's enthusiastic pressing earned them a few early chances, and they found the net just nine minutes in. Carlos Tevez received a pass directly into Real's box, and Iker Casillas could not control the rebound from Tevez's shot, which set up Álvaro Morata for an easy tap-in. Casillas and Real's defenders share the blame for letting such a simple pass in, and giving up such a juicy rebound. Despite scoring against his former club, Morata didn't celebrate his goal.

For most of the first half, the ball stayed pretty clear of the midfield, with each team struggling to get the ball off the feet of their defenders. Juve repeatedly tried to pass over Real, and Real tried to run through them. Isco played well and cut out space, but failed to create quality chances.

Real equalized 26 minutes in after Dani Carvajal kept a ball in play, passed to to James, who crossed it to a wide open Ronaldo who headed it home. The goal opened up Juve's midfield and defense for Madrid for a bit, and they very nearly found a second minutes later. After an incredible series of passes through and around Juve, James hit a diving header into the crossbar.

The common trend through the first half was poor decision-making by Real's defenders, and a lack of link-up play in attack. Juve's lucrative pressing was effective, and it felt an fair result at 1-1 at the break.

Real opened the second half more comfortably than the first, but it wouldn't last. After a blocked shot by Juve, they had space to run up the center of the pitch, and Dani Carvajal made a poor tackle on Tevez, drawing an undisputed penalty. It was an unnecessary challenge, and Tevez sent Casillas the wrong way on the ensuing penalty, giving the hosts a lead they wouldn't sacrifice.

Isco had lots of room to run all day, and he was as strong as Ramos was poor. But Ancelotti perplexingly subbed him off in the 63rd minute for Chicharito. Real never really settled into possession in the second half, and with Ramos playing poorly out of his usual position, it was hardly surprising. Marcelo and Dani Carvajal were similarly lackluster.

In all, it felt like an experimental match by Ancelotti, and we likely won't see his formation of 4-4-2 with Ronaldo and Bale alongside one another in the return leg. Juve's ability to agitate Real's defenders and midfield was incredibly impressive, and the scoreline was a very fair result.

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