Real Madrid held to 2-2 draw at Juventus
TURIN, Italy (AP)
Cristiano Ronaldo kept his goalscoring run going on Tuesday as he helped Real Madrid to an entertaining 2-2 draw at Juventus that left his side on the verge of qualification for the Champions League knockout stages.
Juventus dominated in the first period and Iker Casillas made two crucial saves but Arturo Vidal gave the Italian side a deserved halftime lead from the penalty spot after Paul Pogba was fouled by Raphael Varane.
Ronaldo leveled for Madrid with his 21st goal in 16 matches this season and set up another minutes later as Gareth Bale put Carlo Ancelotti's side in front.
Madrid's lead lasted just five minutes before Fernando Llorente headed in the equalizer for Juventus.
''I feel very good, I'm in a very good moment of my career,'' Ronaldo said. ''It's my profession, I try to do my best every year, I want to show everyone that I am a good player and that I always give my best for my team.
''In the first half we didn't play well, we played too deeply, too defensively. The coach told us we needed to play better. We were good in the second half, scored two goals, hit the woodwork, we had a good response. We are practically in the next round, we need one point, I think it's almost impossible that we won't qualify.''
Madrid dropped its first points but remains top of Group B with 10 points, while Juventus slips to bottom spot after Copenhagen beat Galatasaray 1-0.
''We need to beat Copenhagen at home and then play for everything against Galatasaray,'' Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. ''We should be fortified because we had a great performance and a good result against a really strong team. My players showed on the pitch that we can play against anyone.''
Madrid won its three previous Champions League matches to take a commanding lead of the group. Juventus had just two points and knew it had to win to have a realistic chance of advancing.
Conte's team attacked from the outset and Pogba had an early opportunity, but fired wide of the left upright from distance.
Madrid had its first chance in the ninth minute when Ronaldo ran half the length of the pitch and into the area before unleashing a shot which fizzed just past the left post
The visitors again went close moments later when the world's most expensive player, Bale, won a challenge with Martin Caceres for the ball but his tame effort was comfortably saved by Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Juventus should have scored in the 16th minute when Pogba's cross was almost turned into his own net by Pepe, but Iker Casillas managed to save at point blank range. Although he spilled the ball, no one could take advantage and the danger was cleared.
The Italian side went closer shortly before the 30th and Claudio Marchisio seemed almost certain to score with a header, but Casillas did brilliantly to deflect it past his right post with his leg.
Madrid was camped out in its own half and reduced to trying to hit Juventus on the counterattack. Bale went close when he curled a shot narrowly past the far corner.
Juventus broke the deadlock when Varane slid into Pogba and referee Howard Webb pointed straight to the spot. Vidal stepped up and fired into the top right corner to send Juventus Stadium into a frenzy.
Ronaldo had a chance to equalize on the stroke of halftime but spooned his effort horribly over the crossbar as he was bumped by teammate Karim Benzema.
It was the Portugal star who leveled seven minutes after the interval, chipping Benzema's through-ball over the onrushing Buffon for his eighth goal in this season's group stage, matching the record held by Ruud van Nistelrooy, Filippo Inzaghi and Hernan Crespo.
Madrid almost took the lead four minutes later but Xabi Alonso's screamer crashed off the crossbar.
It was end to end action in Turin and Marchisio again went agonisingly close with an effort which beat Casillas, but was cleared off the line by Pepe.
Madrid, which had lost its past five matches against Juventus in Turin, went in front on the hour mark. Ronaldo picked out Bale on the far side of the penalty area and the Welshman squeezed a shot in between two Juventus players and into the bottom right corner.
However, Juventus was back on level terms just five minutes later when Llorente headed Caceres' cross powerfully past Casillas' outstretched hand.
''I think the problem in the first half was Pogba and Marchisio giving us a lot of trouble and we defended too deeply,'' Ancelotti said. ''The second half was very different, we pressurized them more and played further up the pitch and had much more possession.
''I don't think we've yet reached our best, we're still improving. Juventus is a solid and strong squad with good talent, I think in the end they will pass the round with us.''