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Home Sport Football European

Ronaldo has the final say as controversial penalty halts Juve in their tracks

Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus (RealMadrid win 4-3 on aggregate)

By James Cann

Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time penalty to book Real Madrid’s place in the Champions League semi-finals after losing the second leg 3-1, but winning 4-3 on aggregate.

Juventus had wiped out Real Madrid’s three-goal advantage from the first leg with Mario Mandzukic scoring twice before Blaise Matuidi levelled the tie at 3-3 after an hour.

But with the game heading towards extra-time, Madrid were awarded a penalty following Mehdi Benatia’s challenge on Lucas.

Gianluigi Buffon was shown a red card by Michael Oliver for protesting the decision, leaving Ronaldo to score his 41st goal of the season from the spot past substitute keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Trailing 3-0, Juventus needed a positive start to get back into the tie and Mandzukic gave the Bianconeri the perfect beginning by heading home Sami Khedira’s lofted cross to the back post with 90 seconds played.

Juventus were indebted to their 40-year-old goalkeeper Buffon who denied Isco with a fine save after Ronaldo’s through ball created the chance. That save proved to be crucial as three minutes later Mandzukic scored with another back post header.

With half an hour to play, the Italians had wiped out Real’s three-goal advantage. Keylor Navas failed to collect a cross into the box and Matuidi was in the right place at the right time to poke the ball home for an improbable equaliser.

Ronaldo played a pivotal role in the conclusion to the game. It was his header that Lucas was about to control when Benatia was adjudged to have fouled the Madrid man six yards from goal.

Buffon took his protests too far and was sent off by the English referee before Ronaldo showed great composure to fire his penalty past Szczesny to send the defending champions through to the semi-finals.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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