Champions League Finalist: Juventus and Real Madrid again in a Final after 1997-98

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It is all done and dusted after 90 minutes of the return leg on Wednesday night at the Vicente Calderon. A spirited Atletico Madrid were held off by the defending champions as they lost the tie 4-2. Real Madrid had swept away Atletico in the first leg 3-0. A place in the champions league final was assured with a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-rick at the Bernabéu. A come back in the second leg with 3 goals down was written off.

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C. Ronaldo scores his third goal in the first leg.

 

Atletico, trailing 3-0, stormed into an early 2-0 lead on the night through Saul Niguez’s header and Antoine Griezmann’s cheeky penalty. Atletico started the game as expected, intensity in their approach was a whole lot better as they were leading 2-0 in the first 15 minutes of the game.

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Just when things were looking good for Simione’s men, Real pulled one back before half time. A chance created brilliantly by Karim Benzema as he wriggled his way past three defenders on the byline. A first shot from the cut back was saved by the keeper before Isco scored from the rebound.

A crucial away goal  from Isco had settled the nerves for Zidane’s men as Real were able to see of the game without scoring or conceding any more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An end of an era, as Atletico played their last European fixture at the ‘Calderon’. They will be moving to a new stadium next season. Atletico became the first team to be eliminated by the same opponents four times in a row.

 

Jubilant Juve

Earlier on Tuesday, Juventus were also leading 3-0 against AS Monaco. The return leg at the Turin was again sealed in the first half with goals from Mario Mandzukic and a stupendous volley from the ex- Barcelona defender, Dani Alves. Early pressure from the French side went in vain as they found themselves 5 goals behind on aggregate. Dani Alves, man of the match in both legs for his three assists and a goal.

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Kylian Mbape was the only player to have scored against Juventus in their current Champions League campaign. The Italian side is now unbeaten for 51 games in all competitions.

Champions League Final(1997-98)

The Final would be a repeat of the 1997-98 season when both sides were up against each other at the Amsterdam Arena. Real Madrid won the game 1-0 on the night. Madrid beat Juve in the 1998 Champions League final thanks to Predrag Mijatovic’s winner.

Real has won the European title for a staggering eleven times in their history while Juventus have manged to win two after reaching the Finals eight times. The Spanish giants are looking forward to create history by winning back to back European cups as no team has ever done. A daunting ask ahead of them.

Every season brings a new life in a team. Considering this season both teams have been on top of their game again, but Juventus have proven to be much more organized tactically than Real. Juventus have not been beaten in Champions League this season and they would love to get their hands on the trophy this time after loosing to Barcelona in the finals two seasons ago.

In search for that precious winners medal

No player deserves his hand on the trophy more than the veteran Juve Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. In his almost 40 year career, UEFA champions league is the only competition he has never won. As he was asked about his feelings to reach in these champions league finals towards the end of his career.

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He is happy and thankful as it is all coming at a time when he is in good shape. Buffon said that the team this time around is a much better unit than what they were in their previous seasons and that they should stay focused to deliver the goods against Real Madrid in the Final, a force with Ronaldo and Bale up front. He said, lifting the trophy as Captain will again be a big moment after the world cup in 2006.

Who will be victorious at Cardiff?

Juventus is not lacking anything this season. The confidence is high within the squad. A quality line up with Dybala up front and a solid back four including the priceless experience of  Gianluigi Buffon. Juyentus are literally ready for the final and chances are high for them to deliver this time around. They have not shown signs of distress playing against the free scoring sides such as FC Barcelona and AS Monaco.

Real Madrid have scored in 61 consecutive games across all competitions but, surely have weakness in their defense, leaking two early goals after being 3-0 up and were kept in the game with Keylor Navas pulling off multiple saves.

Real Madrid have to win three games to secure their La Liga title as they have FC Barcelona chasing them. Juventus are secured at the top of the table to win their 6th consecutive Seria A title.

The Champions League Final will be held at the Principality Stadium also known as the Millennium Stadium on 3 June 2017. Let’s wait and see for whom the Cardiff’s national stadium turns out to be lucky and unforgettable!

millennium-stadium-cl-final-daily-punch

 

 


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Mehdi Ali

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