Champions League: Juventus 3 – Real Madrid 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
May 15th, 2003 • 5:27 am

Don’t you just hate it when a top player misses a crucial penalty kick? Because Figo did indeed miss his kick. The keeper blocked it, but the finishing power just wasn’t there. (They should have let Roberto Carlos wack it!)

The missed penalty changed the whole game. Real Madrid had to take further risks, and were punished for it by Nedved’s beautiful goal. They did manage to get one back through Zidane, but it was too late.

The game certainly did live up to its billing, and the Italian crowd was just incredible. You cannot help but get excited when so many fans get together to make so much noise.

Still, the sad part about all this is not that Nedved is going to be suspended for the final (it’s sad for him, of course), but that the all-Italian final is almost guaranteed to be a bore fest. The game today is the kind of game that should have been the final. (And the same could be said of the second leg of the Manchester United – Real Madrid tie.)

The “dirty” team beat the “pretty” team, and will meet another “dirty” team in the final. It’s not that simple, of course, and Juventus did play some nice football at times (with Del Piero and Nedved in particular). Conversely, Real was not all pretty, there were some bad fouls and some Madrid players did have a tendency to fall down a bit too easily.

Essentially it all came down to Real’s defence not being as tight as it should have been. The Real Madrid defender just couldn’t keep up with Nedved on the third goal. And some of Real’s overpaid attackers just didn’t deliver.

In the past few years, the Champions’ League final has rarely been a really great game. It doesn’t look like it’ll be any different this year. And that’s too bad.

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