Juventus lead Real Madrid - can they 'deliver a masterpiece'?
Champions League semi-final is finely balanced as Juventus shade the first leg in Italy
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned Real Madrid that his side "can do even better" when they travel to the Spanish capital next Wednesday to defend a one-goal lead in the return leg of their Champions League semi-final. "We've laid the foundations, my lads showed great personality, effort and determination," said Allegri. "If we want to make the final, we've got to deliver a masterpiece in Madrid."
It's been a good few days to be a Juventus fan. At the weekend they sealed their fourth successive Serie A title, and victory over an off-colour Real Madrid continues their impressive home run at the redeveloped Juventus Stadium. They have lost just once at the ground in 18 European encounters, and a second defeat always looked unlikely once Alvaro Morata had given the Italians the lead after just eight minutes. Carlos Tevez's initial low angled shot was parried by Real keeper Iker Casillas and the ball fell into the path of Morata who poked it into the net of his former club.
Real levelled on 27 minutes when a James Rodriguez cross found the head of Cristiano Ronaldo, a strike that took the Portuguese star to 76 Champions League goals, one more than arch rival Lionel Messi.
Rodriguez had a chance to give the visitors an undeserved lead but his header lacked the accuracy of his teammate's and it rattled the crossbar.
Carlos Tevez restored Juventus's advantage from the penalty spot on 57 minutes after being fouled by Dani Carvajal, and that was the cue for Allegri to start shutting up shop. On came central defender Andrea Bazagli to bolster the back four and Real rarely threatened to equalise in the final half hour. Indeed the best chance of the closing minutes fell to Juventus substitute Fernando Llorente but his finish lacked accuracy and Real will still be quietly confident that they can overturn the deficit next week.
"It's a negative result, but it's not so bad. It's all going to be decided at the Bernabeu," said Real coach Carlo Ancelotti. "The crowd can help us at home. It will be a situation like we had last year in the semi-finals [against Bayern Munich] and like this season in the quarter-finals [against Atletico Madrid]. We're confident because we're at home. The fans will help us."
Despite his bullish predictions in the immediate aftermath of the win, Juventus coach Allegri still recognised the size of their task in the second leg. "We will be up against a wounded Real team next Wednesday," he said. "We've got to score in Madrid or it's going to be hard for us to come home with a place in the final."