GARETH BALE DELIVERS FOR REAL MADRID
By: Raymond Padya
Gareth Bale gave critics something to talk about last night as he braced an excellent goal to give Real Madrid a 2-all draw against Juventus during a UEFA Champions League clash in Turin.
The Real Madrid-wing’s recent form has not been exceptional yet but it seems Bale is gaining momentum. The Welshman showed why Madrid paid a large sum of money for him as he placed Cristiano Ronaldo’s pass onto the bottom corner of the Juventus net, scoring the second goal for his team, which was later equalised by Juve to make the score 2-2.
Arturo Vidal was first to score, from the penalty spot after Raphael Verane tackled the problematic Paul Pogba in the box. Ronaldo retaliated for Madrid and equalised after making an amazing interception, followed by Bale who doubled the score then Fernando Florente equalised for Juve to make it a draw.
The ball started with a high-tempo and Juventus was in control in most parts of the first half. Pogba was a nuisance for the Madrid defenders and he exploited Sergio Ramos’ weakness as a right back. In the 18th minute, Pogba created a very good chance when he made a cross that almost went in as an own goal when Pepe failed to clear it. Lucky enough Iker Casillas, the Madrid veteran was in top form and saved his team on several occasions.
Madrid could have conceded more than 4 goals if it wasn’t for the captain, Casillas who had a wonderful game. The captain made an amazing stop in the 30th minute. Llorente beat Marcelo in the air and headed the ball that was miraculously saved by Casillas.
The away team had a few chances but they all ended in vain. Both teams battled for possession and in the 41st minute, the better team scored. Vidal placed the penalty in the top right corner and Casillas couldn’t catch it.
The match went to halftime 1-0 in favor of Juventus and when both teams came for the 2nd half, the tables had turned.
After an amazing combination and string of play, Karim Benzema finally found Ronaldo in the right place and the Portuguese star scored his 21st goal in his 16 matches for his team this season.
Xabi Alonso took us back to his old Liverpool days when he used to score long-range balls. The Madrid midfielder hit the crossbar after meeting a bouncing ball outside the box in the 58th minute.
It was only a matter of time until bale delivered for Madrid. The Welshman received an assist from Ronaldo and braced it into the bottom corner in the 60th minute. The former Spurs player ran to his teammate Ronaldo and game him a celebratory hug.
The equaliser was long coming. The Madrid defense had too much loopholes that Juventus kept exploiting until they scored. Llorence placed in a header in the 66th minute and Casillas could not stop it. The whole stadium exploded in chants.
The match ended 2-2 and Madrid now sit on top of their group with 10 points. Juventus now need to win the coming two matches to get a chance to proceed to the last 16.
Casillas was happy with the team’s performance. “We are all doing well in the Champions League and are a small step from qualifying,” he said on the Real Madrid twitter page @RealMadriden.