Champions League Quarter-Finals: Juventus vs Real Madrid
- All the second leg games, except for Sevilla vs Bayern, feature teams attempting to turn the first leg defeats around. Juventus will attempt to mount a comeback against arguably one the most potent counterattacking sides in all of Europe. An unfortunate red card for Dybala in this last game means that Juventus will be without their star man, who scored a hattrick at the weekend against Benevento. Madrid meanwhile will look to wrap up this tie after a 1-1 draw in the Madrid derby at the weekend. Zidane rested Isco, Casemiro, Modric and removed Cristiano midway into the second half with an eye on this return leg in Turin. Cristiano scored perhaps the best goal of his career in the last game and has had an incredible return to form in 2018. Bale, however, looks set to return to the bench after starting against Atletico in the Madrid Derby assuming Zidane’s pattern of rotations is anything to go by. Allegri will no doubt create a plan to give his side their best chance, and he will hope Higuain can make the difference against one of his former sides. Juventus will come into this game knowing that they have won the last four two-legged knockout ties when these two teams have met. However, Madrid will feel confident that they have one foot in what could be their eighth successive semi-finals appearance.
Key Match Points
- Cristiano may have had his struggles early on this season, but they never affected his Champions League form. He is the first player to have scored in all six group games, with the 9 goals he contributed, and he scored in both games last round. Scoring in this second leg will continue this impressive streak he is on.
- Sergio Ramos will be suspended for this second leg and it will be interesting to see how Zidane shapes up his starting XI, but Ramos’s leadership and experience will be a big loss for Madrid.
- Madrid’s form in 2018 has coincidentally or not so coincidentally coincided with Cristiano’s return to his magnificent form. The draw at the weekend against Atletico Madrid ended a streak of six consecutive victories in all competitions.
- Dybala is suspended but both Pjanic and Benatia will be available for this second leg. Both players were sorely missed in the first legs if the current aggregate score is anything to go by.
- Juventus will be playing to keep their treble hopes alive. After mounting a comeback against Napoli in Serie A to reassume first place, and booking a spot in the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan, a comeback victory would prolong their hope of winning a treble.