Monday, May 4, 2015

Juventus vs Real Madrid Champions League semifinal - 05-05-2015

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Juventus vs Real Madrid
Competition: Champions League, 2014/2015 − Semi-finals (first leg)  
Match date: 05 May 2015
Kick Off Time: 18:45 GMT
Venue: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy

Juventus team will enjoy their 11th semi-final appearance in the competition here, though they have not made it to this stage since the 2002/2003 season. Coincidentally enough, that semi-final encounter came against Real Madrid when the hosts overturned a 1:2 1st-leg deficit to steal the match on aggregate with a 3:1 win in Turin. These clubs have a rich history in this tournament and have clashed a total of 16 times at various stages of the competition, and the hosting Old Lady have a home record over this span of 5 wins, 1 draw, and just 1 defeat in Italy.
Therefore, we like their chances of avoiding defeat here, as despite the fact that they have come under attack by critics for playing a boring, unattractive brand of football, they still boast arguably the world’s best defence and have seemingly turned a corner on the European stage under first-year manager, Massimiliano Allegri. They have gone unbeaten in their last 8 UCL home games while managing to keep a clean sheet in 5 of their last 6 overall. Furthermore, they have lost to Real Madrid just once in their last 6 encounters dating back to 2005 (friendly included), and the form of striker Carlos Tevez this season has been a massive factor in their domestic and European successes. However, he will likely need to be clinical with his chances here, as they may be few and far between as they will likely be forced into conceding the majority of possession while hoping to hit the current title-holders on the counter-attack. When these teams met last season in the UCL group stages, they drew 2:2 in Italy in a thrilling affair, and we could see a similar outcome here.
Real Madrid team are set to be handed an injury boost ahead of this one, as Gareth Bale returned to the pitch last time out and could find himself back in the starting XI here. They will continue to be without Karim Benzema, though that may not hurt them too much considering the solid form of Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker played the role of hero in their last UCL outing as he helped his side finally end their Atletico curse this season, scoring in the dying embers of the match to advance to their fifth consecutive Champions League Semi-Final appearance.
Now the White Ballet will attempt to continue their excellent road play that has witnessed them concede just 1 total goal in 5 UCL away games this season. They are the defending kings of the cup and have now managed to keep a clean sheet in 7 of their last 8 matches in Europe. However, cracking the Juventus wall will be easier said than done, and while they have managed to score at least once in 27 of their last 29 Champions League road trips, their all-time record in Italy has been horrendous. They have won just 1 of their 7 visits there against the Old Lady, and their overall away record against Serie A sides is 4 wins, 8 draws, and 17 losses. Nevertheless, the form of James Rodriguez and Cristiano Ronaldo speaks for itself, while the defence has seemingly stiffened up this season in Europe with the exception of their wild 3:4 defeat to Schalke earlier in the competition. A share of the spoils may well be on the cards here in Turin, with Los Blancos content to take this tie back home all even.

Probable lineups:
Juventus: Buffon – Lichsteiner, Bonucci, Chielini, Evra – Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio – Pereyra – Tevez, Morata (F. Llorente).
Real Madrid: Casillas – Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo – S. Ramos, T. Kroos – J. Rodriguez, Isco, C. Ronaldo – Bale.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]



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