Big Match Focus: Real Madrid v Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid

Juventus have it all to do as they attempt to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.

UEFA Champions League
12 April 2018
Quarter-final, second leg
Kick-off: 02H45 HKT
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Referee: M. Oliver
Assistants: S. Burt, S. Bennett
Fourth official: L. Betts

Head-to-head summary

Juventus 20 8 2 10
Real Madrid 20 10 2 8

Previous encounter

Juventus 0-3 Real Madrid 03/04/2018 (UEFA Champions League)

Real Madrid goalscorers: C. Ronaldo (3′, 64′), Marcelo (72′)

Players to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his phenomenal recent form with a brace in the first leg at the Juventus Stadium, but Casemiro was outstanding in the midfield-anchor role, keeping the likes of Sami Khedira and Rodrigo Bentancur quiet. The Brazilian will be crucial again for Los Blancos in the Spanish capital, where Juve will be looking to gain a measure of pride after two resounding defeats to Zinedine Zidane’s side in the space of 10 months – the first of which came in the 2017 Champions League final.

The Bianconeri need to improve markedly at the back if they hope to stand a chance of staging an unlikely upset. Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were guilty of making mistakes in the first leg – something the experienced Italian duo cannot afford to repeat. Chiellini and Barzagli have formed part of the meanest defence in Serie A this season, with the Old Lady conceding just 18 goals in 31 league outings.

Team form and manager quotes

Real saw a six-match winning streak come to an end this past weekend with the 1-1 draw against neighbours Atletico Madrid on Sunday. The point did little for their top-two ambitions as they remain four points behind second-placed Los Colchoneros, having dropped to fourth in the table.

The reigning Spanish and European champions are unbeaten in their last seven games, though, and are odds-on favourites to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League, which is their only avenue to silverware this term.

Zidane isn’t getting carried away with the first-leg result, however, insisting his players need to be on top of their game again.

“The result in the first leg doesn’t change anything for us. It’s another game – what happened, happened,” the Frenchman said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“We got a good result but it’s only half-time. We have the second half tomorrow. We need to play another great game.”

“We have one final this season. Tomorrow. Then we will see from there on how many more we have. We also have to think about the Liga, too.

“We want to finish as high as possible. We have one UCL final tomorrow, and if we get through we’ll see if we have more. We need to think game by game only, nothing else.”

The 3-0 loss to Real would’ve come as a shock to Juve, who had previously gone 23 matches unbeaten in all competitions.

Massimiliano Allegri’s men quickly picked up the pieces, though, as they returned to winning ways at the weekend with a 4-2 success over Serie A basement club Benevento.

The league leaders maintained the four-point gap to Napoli ahead of their top-of-the-table clash later this month.

But the immediate focus in on Europe, and Allegri is hoping to turn the tables on their Spanish counterparts by making a fast start in Madrid.

“What we want to do is reverse this 3-0,” the Italian told the assembled media on Tuesday. “It was a tough result, we’ll need to play a complete game against a complete team if we are to get a positive result.

“Nobody expected us to concede after two minutes in Turin, so why can’t we do the same tomorrow. We need to give our all, tomorrow will help us for the result of the season.

“We need to be serious as we’re still battling for the league. Real Madrid will be serious and want to play a complete game, too. We need to concentrate on ourselves, not them.”

Team news

Both teams have key personnel missing through suspension. Sergio Ramos was booked in Turin which ruled him out of the second leg due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

The hosts continue to be without Nacho, who has missed their last two games with a hamstring injury he sustained at Las Palmas, while Lucas Vazquez and Jesus Vallejo face late fitness tests.

Meanwhile, Paulo Dybala must watch from the sidelines after being sent off in the first leg and the striker is joined by Bentancur, who picked up his second caution in the knockout stages last time out.

Federico Bernardeschi sat out the first leg with an injury and remains a doubt for the trip to Spain, along with Barzagli, who did not feature against Benevento on Saturday.