Morata ends Real's Champs League dream



    May 15, 2015

    Morata ends Real's Champs League dream


    REAL Madrid paid more than 200 million euros (S$301 million) to assemble their forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, but the attacking trio failed them again in Wednesday's Champions League exit to Juventus.

    Ronaldo did manage to score from the penalty spot to give holders Real a 23rd-minute lead in the semi-final's second leg at the Bernabeu, but faded out of the match in the second half while Benzema and especially Bale missed a string of chances.

    It was left to a Real reject to make the decisive contribution, their former striker Alvaro Morata, who joined Juve for 20 million euros in the close season, netting in the 57th minute to send the Italians through 3-2 on aggregate to face Barcelona in next month's final.

    "It was a difficult match because Madrid have so much strength up front. If you are not concentrating, they will punish you," said Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.

    "We had a lot of chances in which we lacked the final pass. We deserved to be in the final because the boys grew as the game went on.

    "We maintained a great balance throughout the game and stayed strong mentally."

    Morata's goal ended Real's dream of a record-extending 11th European crown, and they are almost certain to end the season without winning rvrn one of the three major trophies.

    Dumped out of the King's Cup by Atletico Madrid in January, they are four points behind La Liga leaders Barca with two games left, and the Catalans can make sure of a fifth title in seven years with a win at Atletico on Sunday.

    After a successful first season in Spain following his record move from Tottenham Hotspur, Bale has been under scrutiny amid Real's recent struggles, with many fans blaming him for the club's woes.

    He won applause for testing Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon with a powerful long-range effort in the first half on Wednesday, but later fluffed at least two opportunities, including a header from Ronaldo's lofted cross that he put over the crossbar.

    "I couldn't quite get over the ball, which was disappointing, but it's one of them things that happens in football and you move on," Bale told Sky Sports.

    "As long as I keep trying, usually one goes in but unfortunately it didn't tonight.

    "I think my finishing has been a bit rusty this year and it's something to work on for next year."

    Meanwhile, Real coach Carlo Ancelotti may have overseen his final European game in charge of Los Blancos, and claimed his side lacked the luck they had in scoring in stoppage time in last season's final.

    "We lacked very little, it was small details," he said. "We didn't have a lot of luck. If we had luck to win the Champions League in the last minute, then maybe we lacked it tonight.

    "If I have to criticise something, it would be the way we played in the first leg. I thank my players because they have worked as hard as they could."