Cristiano displays nerves of steel
Let's get this straight, I firmly believe it was a penalty. Cristiano won the ball and knocked it down for Lucas Vázquez who was shaping up to shoot and was then brought down by a clumsy challenge from Benatia. I also understand that not everyone will share this view point as each referee applies his interpretation of the rules of the game and some match officials are more permissive than others and this does little to quell the anger where so much inconsistency is visible. I also fully appreciate Gigi Buffon's fury with the decision in seeing how Juventus' valiant comeback was about to go up in smoke as the game was deep into added time. Once again I felt it was a penalty whilst the likes of former match official and now radio analyst Iturralde felt it was not. Anyhow, the spot kick was majestically transformed by Ronaldo and Madrid are in the semi-final draw.
Football is a wonderful game. Last night Real Madrid were on the cusp of being the victim of an amazing comeback as Juventus brought back a 3-0 first leg defect at a packed Santiago Bernabeu. We all saw how Barcelona were eliminated on Tuesday night but there was a sense among the home fans that Madrid simply had to turn up and a ticket to the semi-final was a mere formality. It was anything but as the tie was level with less than 30 minutes remaining on the clock. The first two goals were almost carbon copies with Mandzukic nodding past Keylor and the Costa Rican keeper's blunder gifting the Serie A side the third on the night.
Madrid were poor as Juve were good. Doubt would appear to have been the mitigating circumstance and the same thing happened to Barça at the Stadio Olimpico. Go for the game or sit and contain? A goal for the opponents only adds to the sense of doubt and that was the tonic of the evening for Zidane's men as nerves became accentuated as the goals for the Serie A side went in. Juve went close to taking the game into extra-time and who knows who that would have transpired in a further 30 minutes of action. Real Madrid escaped with a last gasp penalty expertly dispatched by Cristiano who failed to succumb to the incredible pressure presented by the situation with the whole world watching his spot kick strike. A player for all occasions.
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