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Zalayeta settles titanic tussle

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

By Graham Hunter at Stadio Delle Alpi

[1] Marcelo Zalayeta's goal four minutes from the end of extra time enabled Juventus FC to defeat Real Madrid CF 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate and ensured there will be no Spanish involvement in the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

First shoot-out

[2] After second-half substitute David Trezeguet wiped out Madrid's first-leg advantage, the match appeared to be heading towards the first shootout since the 2003 final - which Juve lost - and the first-ever in the knockout rounds. However, Juve called on all their knowledge and passion from years of European adventures to keep their nerve and win the tie through Zalayeta minutes after Ronaldo and Alessio Tacchinardi were shown direct red cards for an off-the-ball exchange.

Nedved out

[3] As expected, Fabio Capello chose not to risk Pavel Nedved whose concussion from the first game had meant exclusion from training until two days ago. The sides were otherwise as expected, both in personnel and formations. And Juve's choice to play with three strikers, Alessandro Del Piero alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Zalayeta, not only indicated the need to get back into the tie but also Capello's belief that Madrid were vulnerable under pressure.

Creating havoc

[4] Indeed, Juve started the match in whirlwind style with Ibrahimovic creating havoc in the Madrid penalty box within the first three minutes and almost scoring in the sixth. The Swede drifted in behind Roberto Carlos and Walter Samuel and latched on to a lofted pass from Zalayeta before drilling a shot into the chest of goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Ronaldo sent Madrid's first chance over the bar in the eleventh minute before Mauro Camoranesi fizzed an effort wide from a similar position in the 14th.

Exceptional defending

[5] Del Piero then went close to his 37th Champions League goal in black and white as he unleashed a shot which appeared to bounce awkwardly in front of Casillas and the ball deflected off the Spain No1 for a corner. The half was typified by two exceptional moments of defending: Iván Helguera denying Ibrahimovic and Fabio Cannavaro getting his head to a David Beckham cross to frustrate Ronaldo.

Broke forward

[6] Madrid's best opportunity of the first period came in the 40th minute when Raúl Bravo's header found the feet of Luís Figo who in turn curled a pass to Ronaldo. The Brazilian broke forward and cut inside Lilian Thuram before bending a shot just a few centimetres past Gianluca Buffon's right-hand post. As the second half burst into life, it was Ronaldo again who looked the likely first scorer, forcing Buffon to touch his shot on to a post and behind after outstripping Cannavaro.

Trezeguet on

[7] Trezeguet, recovered from flu, came on for Del Piero in the 57th minute and soon galvanised the Bianconeri; although Camoranesi, Gianluca Pessotto and Ibrahimovic all missed the target with Casillas exposed. With the home side 15 minutes from elimination, Camoranesi sent in a deep cross from the right which Ibrahimovic rose to head back into the path of Trezeguet who was able to swivel and volley the ball over his head and not even Casillas's lightning reactions could prevent the ball from bulging the net.

Flurry of chances

[8] The match ended in a flurry of chances, with Ronaldo seeing a goal chalked off for offside and Roberto Carlos bringing an awkward save from Buffon with a trademark swerving free-kick from range. Extra time was no duller with an overhead Zalayeta effort narrowly avoiding the post in the first half, and Ronaldo and Tacchinardi earning the wrath of referee Markus Merk in the second. Zalayeta, though, provided a more fitting conclusion as he drilled in a low shot in the 116th minute to end Madrid's hopes for the second time in three years.

Marcelo Zalayeta celebrates scoring Juve's winner