Match Preview: Real Madrid v Juventus (UCL)

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Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Match Report: Real Madrid v Juventus (UCL)

Champions League semi-final second leg, Santiago Bernabeu

Barcelona booked their place in Berlin next month and Real Madrid will look to make it a Clasico final at the Olympic Stadium by coming from behind to beat Juventus and ensure their quest to become the first club to retain the Champions League in its current format remains in tact.

Goals from former Madrid man Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez proved enough to give the ‘Old Lady’ the advantage from last week’s first leg in Turin but Cristiano Ronaldo at least ensured a crucial away goal for the reigning champions.

It makes for what is set to be an enthralling return leg in the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night as Madrid look to make up for the disappointment of their 2-2 draw with Valencia at the weekend, a result that all-but ended their Liga title hopes, with a place in the Champions League final.

Real Madrid team news

Madrid will be boosted by the return of Karim Benzema but Ancelotti did not confirm if the striker would be ready to play from the start or if he would come on from the bench. “He has recovered well from his problems, but he hasn’t played for a month,” said the Madrid coach. “That’s the doubt for me. I don’t know whether to field him from the start or during the game, because in the second half the tempo of the game will be lower”.

If the Frenchman is not ready for a start, Ancelotti is likely to go with Javier Hernandez in a three-man attack alongside Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ancelotti did not role out using Sergio Ramos in a defensive midfield role again, despite the Spain internationals struggles in Turin. Juventus are set to have Paul Pogba back in their starting eleven and that will give the Italians a bigger threat in the middle of the park.

Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are both set to return to their starting roles at full-back.

Juventus team news

Juve are set to welcome midfielder Paul Pogba back to their starting eleven. The French star missed the first leg through injury but Juventus coach Massimo Allegri says the former Manchester United man is ready to play at least an hour at the Bernabeu.

The Serie A champions will not come to see out a goalless draw in the Spanish capital – a result that would see them through. Juve know Madrid are well capable of scoring and the visitors want to bag a crucial away goal of their own.

For that they will likely line-up with a 4-3-1-2, with former Madrid man Alvaro Morata looking to strike against his former club again alongside Carlos Tevez in attack. Arturo Vidal will sit behind the pair with Pogba joining Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio in the midfield three.

Carlos Ancelotti said…

“The team look focused, up for it and raring to put in a great semi-final to have the chance to play in the final again. It’s an important moment of the season, because we’re very close to playing in another final and going down in the history of the competition. We know that it’ll be difficult, but we we’re out to do everything we can to win.”

“They have their style of play and their identity. I don’t think that they’ll change that for this game. They have a one-goal lead and they’re a team who are used to playing together, whether with three central defenders or with four at the back. Our idea is clear and we’re focused on that, however they play.”

Massimo Allegri said…

“We won’t change anything in the manner of how we defend. It will be difficult for the match to finish 0-0, although we will suffer as we did in Turin. Madrid usually score and so do we, so it will be an interesting match. We cannot manage the game like in the first leg because it would be impossible. Furthermore, Madrid are at home.”

“It is normal that in a Champions League semi-final there is tension and concentration When you start as a coach you dream of winning a Champions League. It will not be a game like any other. We will have to keep them quiet but it is a path that all coaches want to take and I hope we can get a big result.”

Predicted XI

Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Isco, James; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Statistics

– Juventus carry a 2-1 lead from the first leg thanks to goals from Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez. Cristiano Ronaldo reduced an away goal for Madrid.

– It will be the first time Morata has returned to play at the Bernabeu since his departure for the Serie A club last summer. He will be keen to mark it with a big goal.

– Juventus are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League matches and recently clinched the Serie A title.

– The clubs have met before in Europe, most notably in the 1998 Champions League final when Predrag Mijatovic scored the decisive goal to give Madrid their seventh European crown.

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