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Cristiano Ronaldo's injury-time penalty sees Real Madrid survive furious Juventus rally

Cristiano Ronaldo's injury-time penalty sees Real Madrid survive furious Juventus rally
From ESPN - April 11, 2018

MADRID -- Three thoughts from the Bernabeu as Real Madrid lose 3-1 to Juventus on the night but squeak through on aggregate (4-3) to the Champions League semifinals.

1.Ronaldo penalty hero as Madrid squeak through

Cristiano Ronaldo was the late hero and English referee Michael Oliver the villain (for some) as Real Madrid just about survived the scare of their lives in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

Juventus came oh so close to pulling off the biggest shock in European football history -- it would have been even bigger than Roma's comeback against Barcelona last night -- and it all came down to a disputed penalty in the third of three minutes of added time.

Oliver saw a push by Medhi Benatia on Lucas Vazquez. Juve captain Gianluigi Buffon was shown a straight red card for demonstratively sharing his disagreement. It took an age for all the arguments to calm down, and substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny put on his gloves.

But Ronaldo was the coolest man in a boiling Bernabeu, and he hammered the spot kick into the top corner -- keeping his run of scoring in all 10 Champions League games this season going -- and sending the holders through to the last four.

Madrid's 3-0 advantage from last week's first leg in Turin led to a relatively muted atmosphere pre-game, but Mario Mandzukic's opening goal on 76 seconds changed that completely. The home defence was caught napping by Sami Khedira's run and cross, and the Croatia international had a simple header at the back post. Juve kept coming -- with Keylor Navas saving from Gonzalo Higuain as the Bernabeu gasped for breath.

Madrid then went on the attack themselves -- with surprise starter Gareth Bale denied by Buffon, and Isco having a goal debatably ruled out for offside after the veteran goalkeeper saved from Ronaldo.

It was helter-skelter stuff, with both teams shaking at the back. And the home crowd were really worried when Mandzukic made it 2-0 eight minutes before half-time, with another back-post header, this time from a Stephan Lichtsteiner cross.

Zinedine Zidane made a double switch at the break, removing Bale and Casemiro for Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio, and changing to a 4-4-1-1 shape. Madrid had most of the ball, but were not making clear chances. Then on the hour mark, Keylor spilled a simple cross and Blaise Matuidi smuggled the loose ball over the line to level the tie 3-3.

The tension kept cranking higher and higher, as both teams knew one mistake could prove fatal. Buffon later saved Isco's 20-yard skidder, and Ronaldo headed over from eight yards. The Portuguese's moment seemed to have passed -- but there was still time for one last twist in the tale.

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