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MADRID

Tevez strike gives Juve win over Real Madrid

Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez struck a goal apiece as Juventus boosted their Champions League final chances with a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in their first leg semi-final on Tuesday.

Tevez strike gives Juve win over Real Madrid
Juventus' forward Carlos Tevez celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Real Madrid. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Morata, who moved from Real to Juventus last summer, tapped home the rebound from a Tevez strike on eight minutes to send Juventus Stadium into raptures.

The hosts were pegged back just before the half-hour thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's 76th goal in the competition, a simple header that beat Gianluigi Buffon from close range.

But the Turin giants were back in front when Tevez beat Iker Casillas from the penalty spot on 57 minutes after he was felled in the area.

Real host Juventus on May 13th when they will look to make their precious away goal count as they bid to secure a second consecutive final.

However Juve, who last appeared in the last four in 2003 when they were beaten by AC Milan in the final, will feel confident of causing an upset against the record 10-time and defending champions.

"I would have signed for that result at the start of the match," said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"But we will have to play a lot better in the second leg if we are to go through."

Morata told Sky Sport: "We will have to play the perfect game at the Bernabeu. Above all, we have to believe we've done nothing yet."

Real coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was without injured French striker Karim Benzema, admitted Juve were having a "great" season and conceded: "We made a few more mistakes than we usually do and didn't have much control in the opening half.

"But I'm confident our fans will push us through in the second leg."
  

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JUVENTUS

Five reasons why Juventus have won their eighth straight Serie A title

Italian giants Juventus claimed an eighth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday after a 2-1 win at home against Fiorentina.Here are five factors that helped the Turin giants lift a 35th Scudetto with five matches to spare, equalling the record for the earliest any team has won Serie A:

Five reasons why Juventus have won their eighth straight Serie A title
Photos: AFP

Ronaldo effect

Cristiano Ronaldo was signed from Real Madrid for 100 million euros ($112 million) before the start of the season, in a bid to end the Turin giants' 23-year wait for the Champions League trophy.

The 34-year-old left Real as their all-time top scorer, a record he also holds in the Champions League where he is the only player to have won five titles.

Despite their European exit to Ajax, the Portuguese superstar was a key player throughout the campaign with 19 league goals.

Both Juventus' Serie A defeats came in his absence — 2-0 to Genoa on March 17 and 2-1 to SPAL on April 13 — the latter frustrating their bid to wrap up the title with a record six games to spare.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who was defended by Juve last year after being accused of rape, was slow off the mark, having to wait until their fourth game against Sassuolo before scoring a double in a 2-1 win.

“Cristiano is the future of Juventus, he has had an extraordinary season,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri after the Champions League loss.

Rising star Kean

Teenage sensation Moise Kean burst through during Ronaldo's absence through injury, scoring six goals in the last seven matches for Juventus, having played just nine this season.

The 19-year-old, who provides an alternative to Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala up front, admitted: “I learn from Cristiano Ronaldo in training, I steal his secrets.”

Born in Italy to Ivorian parents, his first league appearance this season was just four minutes away against Fiorentina on December 1, with his first goals a double in a 4-1 win over Udinese on March 3.

Controversy overshadowed his only full match for the champions when he was subjected to racist abuse against Cagliari on April 2.

The youngster hit back by scoring in Sardinia and again in the following game against SPAL.

Bonucci back

Leonardo Bonucci returned to Turin after an unhappy season at AC Milan to recreate the so-called 'BBC' defensive partnership alongside veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli.

The absence of the trio through injury was felt when Juventus conceded six goals in two games including a 3-3 draw with Parma on February 2 — days after being eliminated from the Coppa Italia.

“Mr Bonucci and Mr Chiellini could teach lessons at Harvard University about how to be a central defender,” said Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho.

Juventus have conceded only 23 goals in 33 games, the best record in the division.

Safe hands

Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has proven to be a worthy successor to Juventus and Italy icon Gianluigi Buffon, who left for Paris Saint-Germain.

The ex-Arsenal player arrived in Turin in 2017 after falling down the pecking order at the Premier league club.

The 28-year-old got off to a stuttering start in the season opener, conceding two goals in a 3-2 win at Chievo, but has conceded only 15 goals in the 24 times he has played so far this season.

New arrival Mattia Perin, who joined from Genoa last summer, has proved less effective with eight conceded in nine games, and was between the posts for both their league defeats.

Winning ugly

Massimiliano Allegri doesn't mind winning ugly as he claimed his fifth league title in as many years with Juventus, and sixth in Serie A after leading AC Milan to their last title in 2011.

Allegri — who has now won 11 trophies with Juventus — has strenuously defended his team's often-criticised style of play, despite Juve leading the way in the Italian top flight with 67 goals scored.

“Beautiful football doesn't pay off, at the end of the day you've got to just kick it away from your goal,” the 51-year-old fumed after the draw with Parma.

“They need to realise there is no shame in hoofing the ball into the stands if needs be.”

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