For this week’s flashback we go all the way back to 2002 for the epic Juventus Real Madrid Champions League Semi.
Juventus 3-1 (Agg 4-3) Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League Semi Final, 2nd Leg – 2002
After a first leg in which Madrid demonstrated the type of football befitting of their Galacticos tag, Juventus had it all to do going into the second leg Stadio Delle Alpi tie against the tournament favourites. Luckily for them a 45th minute David Trezeguet Bernabeu finish gave the Old Lady a precious away goal to set the tie up nicely.
Madrid’s passage into the knockout stages was considerably unconvincing. Having crawled through the first round mini league (as was the competition set up back then) and then qualifying as runner up to AC Milan in the second, it was only in the knockouts that Madrid began to evolve into true Champions League front runners.
The previous quarter final tie happened to be the 6-5 aggregate win over Manchester United made famous by a certain Luis Ronaldo hat-trick. Luck would have it a calf injury picked up from the first semi suddenly meant the Old Trafford anti-hero would be on the bench, returning Raul became the chosen man to lead the line in the second leg.
With Zidane, Figo and Guti also taking to the pitch and a bench featuring Ronaldo and Moriente, it wasn’t like the reigning champions were short of options going forward. However with a certain future Chelsea bound Claude Makelele unavailable, suddenly a vital cog in the Real machine was missing.
Whilst questions were asked of how the Juve back line could possibly keep such attacking talent at bay, Juventus were willing to ask their own questions of a now flimsy defensive centre midfield.
Come kick-off Juventus came out the blocks flying with Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved virtually unplayable with his deep bursting runs. David Trezeguet put Juventus in front with 11 minutes played; Alessandro del Piero doubled the sides advantage just before half-time. Real simply had no answer to the Turin sides energy.
The imperious Gigi Buffon was then called upon to maintain the home sides advantage when Portuguese legend Luis Figo spurned a chance from the penalty spot. With the away side reeling, Nedved added Juventus’ third with 15 minutes to finish off the Spanish side, even a late Zinedine Zidane consolation wasn’t enough to deny the hosts.