Juve topple Real
Juventus maintained their good record against Real Madrid to top Group H thanks to a 2-1 victory in Turin.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 21/10/08 9:54pm
Juventus maintained their good record against Real Madrid in recent years with a 2-1 victory in Turin sending them top of UEFA Champions League Group H
The home side took full advantage of a below-par Madrid side who were previously unbeaten in this season's Champions League.
A fifth-minute strike from Alessandro Del Piero and a 49th minute header from Amauri seemed to have secured the three points but a Ruud Van Nistelrooy header made the home side sweat.
The pressure was on the home side to perform after recent poor domestic form had put manager Claudio Ranieri under pressure. On the other hand Madrid went into the game as favourites but in truth they didn't begin to play until they found themselves 2-0 down.
Juventus knew that they needed a win in order to cement their place in Group H and took the game to the visitors, deservedly taking the lead after just five minutes.
Del Piero linked up well with Brazilian strike partner Amauri before curling a right footed shot from 20-yards into the top corner, leaving Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas rooted to the spot.
Madrid looked lacklustre all half and had to wait until the 19th minute to force Juventus goalkeeper Alex Manninger into a save but Rafael Van der Vaart's effort was easily dealt with.
It was Van der Vaart again who came close for the away side a minute later when he shot just wide of the right hand post from the edge of the area.
Juventus looked happy to defend their goal advantage but an attack down the right hand side nearly doubled their lead. Zdenek Grygera's cross was met at the near post by Amauri but he couldn't get his header on target.
The second half began in the same fashion as the first with the home side doubling their lead early on.
Real defender Kepler Pepe seemed to have mopped up the threat of any danger but his sloppy pass found Juve's Pavel Nedved. The Czech international stood up the perfect cross which Amauri duly headed home with the aid of a Gabriel Heinze deflection.
The goal spurred Madrid into life and on 54 minutes they should have clawed a goal back. Wesley Sneijder's cross from the left was met by Van der Vaart but he couldn't direct his header goalwards.
The visitors went close again moments later when a Sneijder free-kick evaded everyone in the penalty area and flashed wide of the far post. The Dutchman was getting closer and on 60 minutes he saw his long-range effort come back off the post with Manninger beaten.
The visitors' pressure paid off when a cross from the left found an unmarked Ruud Van Nistelrooy who made no mistake as he headed home to make it 2-1 but the hosts held on comfortably for the points.
|Juventus||Team Statistics||Real Madrid|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|2||Shots off Target||9|