More than half of the Champions League winners Juventus are hoping to secure their fourth straight title as they beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the San Siro on Saturday.
The Bianconeri’s comeback against their former rivals had been derailed when Sergio Ramos was sent off in the second half, but they rallied to earn a result that will have delighted Mario Balotelli and his former boss, Carlo Ancelotti.
After coming from behind to defeat Madrid 2.1-1 in the last 16, Juve looked to be in control of the tie but the hosts took the lead just before the hour mark.
It was a moment of magic, a strike that looked to set up a memorable night for Ancelotte, whose side had only won their previous two meetings with the Bianconero giants.
The result lifted the Giallorossi to within two points of second-placed Barcelona, who play Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
“The first goal is important.
Real Madrid are the best team in the world,” said Balotello.”
We will have to take the confidence and have to try to improve on this performance.”
Juventus’ Marco CALLEJOZON (L) and Cristian Zapata are congratulated by Juve coach Antonio Conte after scoring in the 2-0 win at the Siro.
Reuters/AFP/Getty ImagesJuventus are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions this season and have lost only one of their last 11 meetings with Madrid, the other being in December.
They have now won eight consecutive games at the Bernabeu and are unbeaten at home this season.
The Nerazzurri, who had lost to Barcelona in the semi-final of the last season’s Champions League, were coming off a 4-0 victory at Olympiakos on Sunday when Mario Mandzukic’s header bounced into the net from a corner.
“I have not been here in five years,” Mandzuki said.
“It is not easy to lose your first game here in the first leg.”
The Biancocelesti have not won a European Cup semi-finals since 2008 and only once since 1986.
“This is a very special moment for the club,” said Mandzuka.
“I am very happy that we are here.”