The Sports Thread #1 For 5/5/15: 2014-15 UEFA Champions League Semifinal #1 - Juventus vs Real Madrid (Second Version)
It looked as if Ancelotti's gamble to not play a forward up front would back fire, as there was no outlet for his midfield to go up top to anyone for most of the first half. Here is a prime example of that, as neither Bale nor Ronaldo was in the box despite Real being well into Juventus' half.
This was not the only time this occurred.
With the backline rattled as Iker Casillas continues to look shaky, Allegri's side was given a real opportunity to at least be the ones in control of this tie when halftime came. Marcelo had a terrible first half and lacked communication with Isco, which helped lead to those two and Varane not following Tevez, whose shot basically acted as an assist for Morata's goal against his former side.
But the aforementioned Isco and James Rodriguez, for any deficiencies they may have defending sometimes, really provided the spark for Real to snatch the momentum of the game away from the hosts. James, along with Kroos and Carvajal helping, took advantage of Evra being outnumbered with Pirlo not being able to get over there and Sturaro not helping to prevent what lead to a great assist by the Colombian for Ronaldo's reply. Vidal tried his best to prevent it, but could not. Chellini and Bonucci did themselves no favors with awful defending as well.
With the momentum at the end of the half, Ancelotti won't put on Hernandez for now. It is imperative that Allegri's centerbacks make Ronaldo and Bale be in hold up positions. And it's more imperative that they don't Ronaldo, of all players, a free header in the box.
Not an easy one to predict here, as both teams are without star Frenchmen (although Varane and Evra are available to start for Allegri).
While Pogba's absence will be felt, Ancelotti is fortunate that Ronaldo getting back to top form against Sevilla with the hat trick could cancel out the loss of Benzema. Still, Ancelotti has decided to leave Hernandez on the bench, as Ronaldo, Bale, Isco and James Rodriguez will jockey to see if the four of them could create without a main forward.
Genoa on loan man Sturaro will have to play the game of his life, as the 22-year-old is Pogba's replacement.
Back for halftime thoughts and a post game wrap up.