Morata’s Equalizer Knocks Real Out, Juventus To Face Barca In Champions League Final
Alvaro Morata netted the opening goal of this semifinal tie at Turin. The former Real Madrid forward returned to haunt his old club by scoring the most crucial goal at Bernabéu on Wednesday. The 57th minute strike knocked the defending champions out of the tournament. Juventus entered the Champions League final for the first time since 2003, riding on Morata’s equalizer. The Serie A champions won the semifinal 3-2 in aggregate against Real Madrid after holding on to a 1-1 draw in the return leg. Juve won 2-1 at home.
Morata didn’t celebrate once more after scoring the equalizer in the 57th minute against his former teammates, but sparked celebrations at the Turin-based side’s camp. The Juventus fans chanted the Italian National Anthem as Morata left the field in the 84th minute being replaced by Fernando Llorente.
Real dominated the proceedings in the first half, took the lead, tore apart Juve and created several opportunities in the last 25 minutes, but the winner remained elusive. Pirlo’s curling free-kick in the 57th minute was punched away by Iker Casillas. Paul Pogba headed it in from the far corner. Morata controlled the ball in his chest before drilling it in past Casillas by his left foot, stunning the stands of Bernabéu. That was the only spell of the game after the breather the Italian side looked threatening.
Karim Benzema’s returned in the starting line-up to pump more blood in Real’s attack in the first half. Benzema though faded away in the second session and was taken off in the 66th minute. Javier Hernandez replaced him, but couldn’t produce the magic he conjured against Atletico Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men were awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute as Chiellini brought James Rodriguez down within the box. Christiano Ronaldo missed from the spot during 2-2 stalemate against Valencia in the La Liga game last weekend, but slotted home forcing ace custodian Gigi Buffon to dive on the wrong side. Perhaps the lead came too early, as Juve got an opportunity to bounce back in the second half and equalize, as a 1-0 win could have guided the home-team to an all Spanish final.
So, it’s going to be Barcelona vs Juventus at Berlin on June 6.