Real Madrid defeat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final at Cardiff. A brace from Ronaldo ensured Madrid lift their 12th Champions League crown. They become the first in this era to defend their title successfully.
The game started with Juventus out of blocks quickly putting pressure on Madrid defence. Navas made a good save to deny Pjanic just as when the Italian side seemed comfortable. Then came a moment of sharp movement and finishing from Ronaldo. The Portuguese got a good return ball from Carvajal at the edge of the box. The rest was history, Ronaldo scoring with wonderful precision and pace, little lucky as it was deflected by Bonucci.
That goal was Madrid’s 500th in the Champions League, Ronaldo’s 103rd. But, seven minutes later Juventus equalised in a fantastic manner. A cross field ball by Bonucci well controlled by Sandro, before teeing up to Higuain who helped it towards Mandzukic. The Croatian then produced a piece of magic by scoring an overhead kick, leaving Navas with no chance to save it.
Madrid could have had their lead back when Marcelo put in a delightful cross from the byline. The header was missed by Benzema and then it came quickly to Ronaldo who couldn’t guide his header home. Juventus were happy to defend in lower blocks and play on the counter.
Real Madrid started the second half with a purpose to score, winning every second ball and dominating the midfield. Modric let fly one from outside the box which was dealt by Buffon. Zidane’ side continue to pile on the pressure which eventually paid off when Casemiro let one pile-driver fly from distance. The shot was deflected in again, this time it came off Khedira.
To wrap things up, three minutes later in the 64th minute, Ronaldo ghosted past Bonucci at the near post and finished expertly from a tight angle after Modric did well to cross the ball from the byline. It was Ronaldo’s 600th goal for club and country in his marvellous career.
Juventus from there on were dominated by Madrid’s midfield. Allegri changed to back four out of desperation leaving Pjanic and Khedira exposed. Kroos along with Modric and Isco floating around made it ever so difficult for their opponents to have any command of the game.
An Alves free kick was headed just wide from Sandro in the 82nd minute, a goal at that moment would have made things interesting, but not to be. Madrid complete the job with an 86th-minute goal well worked down the left side by Marcelo and the Brazilian then teed up Asensio to help himself with a Champions League final goal.
Real Madrid were a bit slow to start but once their midfield got control, there was no holding back. Zidane got this technically right by playing Isco in that floating role, who creates space for other players by his movements. This allowed Kroos and Modric to be more adventurous in their play. Marcelo and Carvajal were superb throughout, I thought Marcelo outplayed Alves in the battle of fullbacks.
Juventus started off promisingly but faded very quickly unexpectedly. Pjanic and Khedira failed to control the tempo, the duo were too deep at times to have any influence on attacking play of Juventus whenever they had the ball. In defensive transition, they were outnumbered most of the time. Change to back four after conceding in second made it more difficult. Overall, the Old Lady were outplayed by a powerful and tactically better side.
Wait for Buffon continues but for Zidane, this is getting better and better. Two Champions League wins in one and half years in charge. Certainly a candidate to become the first man to be the best player and best manager in one era of football.