This was the biggest game of match day four and boy was it a disappointing one, by no means was it a classic as it should have been.
Two weeks ago Juventus beat Real Madrid 2-1 at Turin, that took them to the top of the pool on seven points, one ahead of Real Madrid in second place.
A win tonight for either Real Madrid or Juventus,would all but see them qualify for the knockout stages.
Real Madrid, who had only won two of their last six matches in all competitions, almost had a full strength squad to choose from, although we did lose Pepe and Arjen Robben late in the day with injury.
Gabriel Henize partnered Fabio Cannavaro in defence. Royston Drenthe started on the left wing to form a forward trident with Raul and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Sorry for the late match report but I was just so pissed off by this defeat. Real Madrid lost by 2 goals to nill, AT HOME!!!!!.
That is very very rare. Well, I think from now on, Schuster’s future will be hanging in the balance, I think he will get the sack if he doesn’t make it to the Semi Finals of the Champions League and wins the LA LIGA, because I think, by now, Calderon and Mijatovic have come to understand that Schuster is not the right person to take Real Madrid back to the days of ULTIMATE GLORY, where Real Madrid would do doubles or atleast win La Liga or Champions League by playing in an entertaining way.
Anyway, coming back to the match which was again a disappointment on part of Real Madrid, I said it in the interview that Real Madrid had no form what so ever going into this game and if Real Madrid did not improve basic mistakes they made against Almeria then it is going to be a rough night.
And so was it proved. Real Madrid lost badly and on top of that, got a booing from its own crowd, who praised Juventus instead of the home side.
Real Madrid attacked right from the start, as expected, and had two long range efforts in the first 10 minutes. Guti forced Alex Manninger into a low save, while Mahamadou Diarra lashed the ball over the bar.
Juventus were playing a counter-attacking game, and it worked to perefection on 17 minutes as Juventus were allowed space by Real Madrid and Juventus took advantage to take the lead.
Del Piero profited from a stray Guti pass, before moving forward and curling a beautiful left-footed shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner past Iker Casillas. Though it has to be said that it was awful defending by Real Madrid defenders.
You do not allow Champion League players like Del Piero with so much space in the midfield and allow them to run at you. Sadly, Real Madrid did and Del Piero punished Real Madrid.
Del Piero was causing all kinds of problems when he got on the ball, and he then sparked another dangerous attack, but Marco Marchionni failed to pick out the unmarked Amauri, and the chance went begging.
Real Madrid tried to work their way back in the game, and on 23 minutes Sergio Ramos fired over when completely unmarked at the back post, although he was offside and so the goal wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Schuster’s team were looking extremely predictable, but on 35 minutes they showed a bit of spark as Van Nistelrooy found half a yard just inside the area before lashing the ball a couple of yards over.
Juventus seemed the more likely to score a second goal at this point, and perhaps should have done four minutes before the break as Amauri first saw his shot charged down by Cannavaro in a two-on-two situation, before he then over-hit a pass to Tiago, who was completely unmarked in the box.
However, Real Madrid then produced their best football of the half on 43 minutes as Drenthe was released in the left channel, but just as he wound up a shot inside the area, he was denied by a brilliant last-gasp tackle from Olof Mellberg and got hurt in the collision
Real Madrid tried to take advantage of the injury confusion, but Diarra headed wide from Drenthe’s left-wing cross, meaning that Juve went in a goal to the good at half time.
Real Madrid came out of the blocks fast in the second period, and within 40 seconds they had another effort, as Drenthe lashed into the side-netting from an acute angle.
Drenthe ( I can’t believe I am writing something good about him) was switching wings, roasting Cristian Molinaro down the Juventus right, and his cross was centimetres too high for Raul in the middle.
Juventus werefinding it difficultto get hold of the ball in the early stages of the second half, although Pavel Nedved charged forward on 54 minutes and tested Casillas from 30 yards.
This appeared to settle Juve down again, and Real Madrid started to become increasingly frustrated by their inability to break down the two lines of four in front of them. This prompted Schuster to mix things up, and on 64 minutes he introduced Gonzalo Higuain for Sneijder.
Two minutes later though, it was Ranieri, not Schuster, who was running onto the pitch and jumping for joy. Del Piero lined up a free kick 30 yards out, and curled a shot over (lets just say, by the wall )and into the corner past a stationary Casillas.
Seriously, the second goal sucked. The stupidest goal I have ever seen. There was no wall. What the hell was Casillas thinking when he instructed the wall to be placed in the middle of the goal (outside of the penalty box that is). Del Piero did nothing.
Just shot the ball by the wall. No defender in the way. Casillas couldn’t anticipate because the wall didnt protect him from any side, not left nor right.
Anyway, a shellshocked Real Madrid tried to react, and on 70 minutes Drenthe fizzed in a dangerous ball from the left for Higuain at the back post, but the Argentine was off-balance and made a poor connection.
The crowd now started to whistle at the Real Madrid players. They are always like that when Real Madrid start to loose. Van Nistelrooy’s shot struck the arm of Nicola Legrottaglie but the contact was involuntary, while Ramos hashed the ball horribly over. Down the other end, Marco Marchionni also fired off target.
On 78 minutes Juventus looked set to make it 3-0 as Marchionni charged through on goal, but the referee then penalised Juventus after Chiellini tangled with Drenthe as the two players chased the former Parma man.
Schuster now played his final cards, when he brought on Javier Saviola and Rafael van der Vaart in place of Van Nistelrooy and Heinze. Vincenzo Iaquinta entered the fray for Juve, with Amauri making way.
On 86 minutes Del Piero almost made his evening even more perfect as he latched onto Marchionni’s past, before turning and shooting centimetreswideofthefar post.