Real Madrid reacted well. Modric combined with Bale on 10 minutes and the Welshman was kept out by the post. The British winger tried to heel the ball in but he put it wide. Three minutes later Cristiano Ronaldo tried his luck. He received the ball with two defenders in front of him, he conjured a bicycle kick to get better control and his shot forced a stellar save from Buffon.
The Whites now appeared to be on top, particularly when Isco found himself with just Buffon to beat from a slightly wide angle but the Juventus custodian once again pulled off a stunning save. However, just two minutes later and in a virtual carbon copy of the opening goal, Mandzukic again nodded the ball home. This is how it remained until the break after lady luck again failed to shine on the madridistas right on the stroke of half-time, when Varane met Kroos’ free-kick, only to see his headed effort crash off the crossbar.
Zinedine Zidane introduced Lucas Vázquez and Marco Asensio in place of Casemiro and Gareth Bale for the start of the second period. After the restar, Real Madrid had the lion’s share of possession, whilst Juventus were sitting back and sought to break away on the counter. Lucas Vázquez picked out Cristiano Ronaldo with a cross in the 58th minute but the Portuguese attacker’s first-time effort was kept out by a stunning diving save from Buffon. However, two minutes later the tie was all square. Douglas Costa whipped over a cross which Keylor Navas appeared to have gathered in, only for Matuidi to nip in and tap the ball home.
Cristiano Ronaldo makes all the difference
Real Madrid continued to pour forward in search of the goal which would have sealed their passage through to the semi-finals. Isco fired in an effort from the edge of the area in the 78th minute and the ball ricocheted off a visiting defender before Buffon saved the day, palming the ball behind from off the goalline. A minute later Varane rifled in on the half turn inside the box, but his shot ballooned wide. The European Champions kept plugging away. Carvajal crossed in on 86’ and Cristiano Ronaldo was at the far post but his header went over the bar. The team’s well deserved reward came in the dying moments. Lucas Vázquez went down in the box after a clash with Benatia and the referee blew for a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo put the ball in the back of the net to send his side into the semi-finals. The European Champions will find out their next rivals this Friday.
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