Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to beat Juventus and make it seven goals in three Champions League matches so far for Real Madrid. Los Blancos earned their third victory and secured the lead in the group B by maintaining the 100 per cent record. Antonio Conte’s side put the hosts in trouble during the first half, but they lost their options when Giorgio Chiellini was sent off.
Juve started very positively, exerting a high pressure on Real, who struggled to keep control of the ball. However, in the first chance Los Blancos entered the box, Angel di Maria sent a delightful pass into Ronaldo, who rounded the keeper and sent the ball to the back of the net.
However, the goal didn’t scare the Italians off. A highly productive Carlos Tevez sent two shots just a few inches wide of the post. Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba physical presence in the midfield made it difficult for Real to get the ball to their forwards, and Di Maria spent more time covering at the right in defence than creating goal chances in the opposite side.
Thus, Juventus equaliser arrived in the 22nd minute, in a brilliant play that started with a cross by Martin Caceres from the right. Pogba’s header was denied by Iker Casillas, but Fernando Llorente was right there to tuck home the follow-up.
Nevertheless, only six minutes later, Chiellini clearly hauled Sergio Ramos to ground inside the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Cristiano converted and put Los Merengues back ahead. It was his seventh goal in only three Champions League games this season.
The match was intense and Juventus were close to equalising again, but Andrea Pirlo’s shot after a corner kick flew over the bar. Real could have made it three before half-time, in a counter-attack lead by Benzema, who found Ronaldo. However, the Portuguese’s shot rolled off-target.
The match changed radically in the third minute of the second half. Chiellini stopped Ronaldo on the run by putting an arm on the Portuguese face and he was shown a red card. It didn’t look that aggressive, but the Italian defender would have also been sent off in case of having received a second yellow card.
The possession had been extremely even until then, but Antonio Conte’s side lost it completely when they were down to ten men. With Real completely dominating, Benzema missed incredibly from two metres. After receiving a pass from Arbeloa and with the whole goal to shoot at, the Frenchman sent the ball over the top. A section of the crowd started booing at the striker again.
Khedira and Marcelo had chances to extend Real Madrid’s lead, but their shots were too weak. Sebastian Giovinco came in from the bench to bring some fresh air for Juventus, but he didn’t manage to break Los Blancos’ well-organised defence.
Real extend their lead in the group B, after having won all their three matches. Galatasaray sit now second, four points behind Los Merengues.