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Real Madrid advances in Champions League despite Juventus loss


Redacción Agencias | 4/12/2018, 6:33 a.m.
Real Madrid advances in Champions League despite Juventus loss
El Real Madrid pasó a la semifinal gracias a un penalti de último minuto | Foto Cortesía

Cristiano Ronaldo netted a penalty kick in stoppage time, lifting Real Madrid into the Champions League semifinals Wednesday at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.

Madrid advanced past Juventus 4-3 on aggregate, despite losing the match 3-1 on Wednesday. The La Liga power beat the Serie A squad 3-0 in the first leg of the quarterfinal in Turin, Italy.

That meant that when Juventus went up 3-0 Wednesday on the road, the squads were tied in aggregate and on road goals. If Juventus kept the 3-0 lead in regulation, the game would go to extra time and the next score would be the series decider.

Douglas Costa helped Juventus take an early edge by leading a break in the second minute. He sent a pass to the flag, finding midfielder Sami Khedira. Khedira then hit a one-touch pass to the far post, finding Mario Mandzukic, who beat Keylor Navas with a header.

But Mandzukic wasn't finished. He came back 35 minutes later for his second score. That play started with Gonzalo Gerardo Higuain hitting Khedira with a short pass outside of the Madrid box. Defender Stephan Lichtsteiner then hit a long cross to the back post, again finding Mandzukic for a header past Navas.

Juventus took the 2-0 advantage into the half.

The Serie A power scored its third goal in the 60th minute. Costa sent a big cross in from about 40 yards out. The ball drifted in to Navas, but the keeper couldn't handle it. It squirted loose and Blaise Matuidi cleaned it up for a goal right in front of the net.

The contest looked as if it was headed to extra time before the five-time Ballon d'Or winner decided he wanted to put it away.

Madrid's Toni Kroos sent in a cross for Ronaldo in the 93rd minute. The ball coasted in and Ronaldo hit a header over defender Alex Sandro Lobo Silva into the center of the box. Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez waited for the ball to come, but was ran into by Medhi Benatia.

Benatia was called for a foul, giving Madrid a penalty kick. Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon took exception to the call, giving the referee and earful. He was quickly kicked out of the game after getting a red card and replaced by Wojciech Szczesny.

Ronaldo stepped up and beat Szczesny to his left with a powerful strike, despite the keeper diving in the correct direction. Ronaldo was given a yellow card after removing his shirt in celebration.

"We had to suffer, to learn, it serves as a lesson that in football certain things can never be ruled out," Ronaldo said after the game. "You have to fight until the last and tonight Real Madrid should have scored more but Buffon was brilliant, Juve were good, but we deserved it. We created chances and in terms of the penalty I don't know why they are arguing, because Benatia was behind Lucas. That's football."

"Football is a game and anything can happen. We were not good, and we have to admit that. We can learn from that for the future. Step-by-step, we are going to the semi-finals."

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was not pleased with the call at the end of the game.

"We should consider changing the person in charge of appointing the referees after a period of time - we have to avoid the kind of incidents that have happened to us, AC Milan, Lazio and Roma," Agnelli said after the game.

Madrid finds out its semifinals opponent on Friday.