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Champions League Semifinal: Juventus Stuns Real Madrid

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JUVENTUS will meet Barcelona in the Champions League final after Alvaro Morata scored against his former club to knock holders Real Madrid out.

Real trailed 2-1 from the first leg but levelled on aggregate through Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty after James Rodriguez was caught by Giorgio Chiellini.

A first ‘El Clasico’ final looked on the cards until Morata fired into the ground and past Iker Casillas.

Gareth Bale and Rodriguez went close but Juventus held on.

While Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri will deservedly win praise for leading the Italians to their first Champions League final since 2003 in his first season in charge, questions are likely to be raised about the future of Real manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Trailing Barcelona by four points in the Spanish title race, Real face ending the season with only the Fifa Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup.

And it was a player Ancelotti – who managed Juve from 1999-2001 – allowed to leave who ended his hopes of retaining the title they won in Lisbon last season.

Morata, who also scored in the first leg, again refused to celebrate after his 57th-minute goal proved decisive.

It came after a half clearance by Casillas, Paul Pogba using his height and strength to help tee up a chance which Morata buried into the far corner.

Bale missed two chances to send the tie into extra time, one from close range which he headed over, while Rodriguez went close from distance.

Yet the Italian champions missed a huge chance of their own to win on the night when Claudio Marchisio was thwarted by Casillas when he only had the keeper to beat.

It had started so well for Real, Ronaldo netting from the penalty spot after Chiellini had caught the back of Colombia forward Rodriguez’s leg in the 22nd minute – a strike which drew him level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi on 77 goals in the all-time Champions League top scorers’ list.

The hosts were on top as Ronaldo’s first-time shot flew into the side netting five minutes before the interval after he was set up by Bale, while Gianluigi Buffon kept out Karim Benzema with a one-handed save.

But Real’s season fell apart in the second half, Juventus’s character shining through.

It means Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is likely to face Chiellini in the final, their first meeting since the Uruguay international was banned for biting the Italy defender at the World Cup in Brazil last summer. – BBC Sport

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