CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: Real Madrid 4-1 Juventus


Once again, Real Madrid have proved why they are one of the most feared football team, as they disseminated the Italian giants, Juventus, in the final of 2017 UEFA Champions League match, in Cardiff, Wales.

Not since the AC Milan team of 1989 and 1990 have a club been able to come back for a second year and win this trophy and yet, from the moment that Casemiro, the Brazilian midfielder, clouted a shot that was deflected heavily past Gianluigi Buffon for the second, it was never in doubt. There were moments in the first half when Zidane’s side had wobbled and then when finally they hit their groove after the break there was to be no stopping them.

Juventus started the brighter and Mario Mandzukic’s overhead kick will live long in the memory, but Ronaldo’s brace along with efforts from Casemiro and Marco Asensio left Real celebrating a surprisingly comfortable 4-1 win.

Madrid started the game colder with Juventus pressing them high up the pitch. There were enough indifferent performances from the defending champions in that first half to make you wonder if the Italians might have a chance. Miralem Pjanic chested down a pass on the edge of the area within six minutes and hit a shot that Keylor Navas pushed away. After that 15 – 20 minutes first-half breeze, there is no doubt from football lovers that the tide is turning in favour of Real Madrid.

Former Madrid star Gonzalo Higuain tested Keylor Navas early on with a 25-yard drive, before the goalkeeper had to make a terrific one-handed save to keep out a powerful Miralem Pjanic strike from a similar distance.

It was Madrid, though, who opened the scoring after 20 minutes, Ronaldo capping a slick passing move.

Karim Benzema and Ronaldo were both involved in the build-up before Dani Carvajal’s cut-back led to the Portugal international producing an impressive first-time finish, finding the far corner from the edge of the area with the help of a slight deflection off Leonardo Bonucci.

The lead lasted just seven minutes before Juve hit back in magnificent fashion.

After Ronaldo opened the scoring by turning home Real’s first shot on goal, Mandzukic scored a sublime overhead kick – surely one of the greatest ever goals ever to grace this stage.

But Juventus’ dreams of a first Champions League title in 21 years ended in heartbreak as Madrid upped the ante, regaining their lead as Casemiro’s 30-yard drive flew home via a deflection.

Matters were quickly compounded as Ronaldo turned home at the near post to take his goal tally for club and country to 600.

The second half could scarcely have been more different, with the Italian side comprehensively outplayed in all areas of the pitch in a niggly affair punctuated by one foul after another. Too many Juventus players disappeared into their shells: Higuain, Dybala, Mandzukic and Pjanic may have come out of for the second half, but all left their mojos in the dressing room.

Casemiro struck on 61 minutes from outside the box to give Real Madrid their second lead of the night. The shot took a deflection off Sami Khedira and with Buffon sprawling again, Real Madrid poked their heads back in front.

Real Madrid’s lead was doubled just three minutes later when Modric crossed only for Ronaldo to clip one beyond Buffon in the coolest of fashions and at that point, it seemed like lights out for the Serie A champions.

Their slender hopes were dealt another blow when Juan Cuadrado was sent off for two yellows within 17 minutes of coming on as a sub when he fouled Ronaldo for his first and then stood on Sergio Ramos for his second to receive his marching orders.

Those very slender hopes dissipated into the Cardiff night sky when Marco Asensio finished after some great work by Marcelo down the left-hand side to make the score 4-1 on the night and as good as guarantee Real Madrid their second Champions League in as many years and their third in four.

Zinedine Zidane has managed 20 Champions League games and won it twice while Ronaldo continues to break records in the competition. His two goals push him one ahead of Lionel Messi in the Champions League this season and he has now won the competition’s top scorer on six occasions.

Reacting to the result, Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was unable to identify the cause of his team’s collapse after they slumped to a 4-1 Champions League final loss to Real Madrid on Saturday.

The Serie A heavyweights were level at 1-1 going into the break in Cardiff thanks to Mario Mandzukic’s spectacular overhead kick, but Casemiro’s deflected strike, Cristiano Ronaldo’s second and a late Marco Asensio effort saw Zinedine Zidane’s side become the first team to retain the Champions League in its current format.

It marked yet more disappointment on the biggest stage in European club football for veteran Buffon, who also lost the 2003 and 2015 deciders to AC Milan and Barcelona respectively.

“We are disappointed,” he was quoted as saying by UEFA.

“We played very well in the first half, we thought we had enough to win the game.

“I cannot explain why we played like we did in the second half. Real Madrid deserved to win in the second half.

“They showed their class and the attitude needed to play in this kind of game.”

Gianluigi Buffon, loser in the Champions League final of 2003, 2015 and now 2017, as the cup remains the only major prize to elude him. But he could not be blamed for any of Real’s goals – from the precision of Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener, the deflection that sent Casemiro’s shot past him or the two shots that beat him from point-blank range.

Juventus Coach, Max Allegri, says that Juventus failed to capitalise on their dominance in the Champions League final.

The Juve boss claims that he was disappointed with how his side faded out of the game after Real scored their second goal.

“We played beautifully in the first half but in the second half Real Madrid pressed the accelerator.

“The only criticism is that after conceding the second goal we should have stayed in the game.

“So we need to improve our management of the game.

“I don’t think we have reached the end of a cycle. The players still have a lot to give us, although we will have to improve our team if we want to do better.

“Football always gives you a chance to try again next year.”

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