Real Topple Italian Giants With Star Show

4 June 2017


Real Madrid won their third Champions League crown in 4 years with an emphatic 4-1 win over Juventus at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

That man Cristiano Ronaldo notched a double as Real Madrid defeated 10-man Juventus to retain their Champions League crown and 12th win altogether including the old European Cup.

The Old Lady as Juventus are known appeared to prefer knitting over football as they conceded more goals in the Millennium Stadium in 90 minutes than in their entire campaign as veteran Italian keeper Buffon went home with hiss team destroyed.

You have to feel a bit sorry for him as two of those goals were cruel deflections as Ronaldo carried on his Roy of the Rovers exploits to gain another winners medal.

It was a cracking game in a first half that saw Ronaldo put Madrid ahead, becoming the first player to score in three different Champions League finals in the process and a lovely goal it was too. He rifled the ball past Buffon from 15 metres after a gorgeous 1-2 move, sadly for the Italian legend between the sticks it took a nasty deflection and Buffon had no chance..

Mario Mandzukic equalised for Juventus with a spectacular overhead kick that no-one will forget in a hurry.

Real Madrid dominated the second half as Juve fell part at the seams, Casemiro scoring with the help of another horrid deflection before Ronaldo made sure of the victory from close-range nipping in between two defenders and shooting in from 6 metres, ensuring he finishes above Lionel Messi as the competition’s top scorer this season.

Juventus substitute Juan Cuadrado was sent off 18 minutes after coming on, the winger receiving a second yellow card for a clash with Sergio Ramos, before Madrid substitute Marco Asensio put the icing on the cake in the last minute. Cuadrado sending off was a bit harsh for the ex Chelsea man as the Old Lady’s hopes went up in smoke.

Having also secured LaLiga glory, the win seals a famous double for Zinedine Zidane in his first full season at the helm, with Madrid the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to win back-to-back European crowns.

As for Juventus, who had been seeking a treble after winning Serie A and the Coppa Italia, have now lost five straight finals since last tasting continental success back in 1996, including two of the last three, having also lost to Barcelona in Berlin two years ago.

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.

Real Madrid took the lead though as 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 deflection off Leonardo Bonucci.

However the game swung back to Juve just seven minutes later. Bonucci’s pass from defence was helped on by both Alex Sandro and Higuain to set up Mandzukic and the Croatia international took one touch and unfurled a magnificent overhead kick into the top corner, with Navas not close to it. Talk about a beauty!

Ronaldo had a chance to hit back, but he misjudged an attempted diving header from Isco’s cross as an entertaining first half ended level at 1-1.

Luka Modric tested Gianluigi Buffon with a left-footed strike from outside the box as Madrid made a faster start to the second half.

And Zidane’s men retook the lead just after the hour mark when Toni Kroos had a shot blocked and Casemiro latched on to the loose ball 35 yards out, firing in a shot which took a huge deflection off Sami Khedira to deceive Buffon.

With Juve shell-shocked, Madrid struck again just three minutes later. Modric played a one-two with Carvajal, latching on to the full-back’s return pass down the right and digging out a superb cross, allowing Ronaldo to nip ahead of a stationary Bonucci and prod in from inside the six-yard box.

Juve brought on Cuadrado, Mario Lemina and Claudio Marchisio as they attempted to reverse the momentum, while Gareth Bale was introduced for Madrid in his home city.

The Italian champions needed a superb intervention from Bonucci to stop Bale from tapping in a Ronaldo cross, before coming close themselves when Alex Sandro’s glancing header fell just wide from Dani Alves’ free-kick.

Then we hit pantomime season as a bad night for Juve got worse with six minutes to go when Cuadrado, already booked for a late challenge on Ronaldo, saw red after Ramos went down like Emile Heskey doing a paper round., the Colombia international having lightly pushed him and made minimal contact with his foot. Ramos will later receive a BAFTA award for overacting.

Madrid wrapped up a famous triumph in the final minute when Asensio – eight minutes after coming on – slotted in left-footed from eight yards after superb work from Marcelo down the left in an emphatic triumph for Zidane.

The plaudits will no doubt go to Mr Ronaldo who has now scored at least twice as many Champions League goals as any other player in the quarter-final stage (20), semi-final stage (13) and final of the competition (4).

So Real Madrid were worthy winners but Juve will feel hard done by thanks to two large defections and a sending off that never should have been.

Gianluigi Buffon was the third oldest player to feature in a European Cup final (39y 126d) after Dino Zoff and Edwin van der Sar but his dream turned into a nightmare as the Old Lady had her zimmer frame taken from beneath her by the Spanish giants.

Congratulations Real Madrid.

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