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Juventus edge Real Madrid in first leg of Champions League semi-final

Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo were both on the score sheet during the first leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-final between Juventus and Real Madrid
Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo were both on the score sheet during the first leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-final between Juventus and Real Madrid Reuters (montage RFI)

Real Madrid old boy Alvaro Morata scored against his former club as Juventus underlined their new found confidence in the Uefa Champions League with a gritty 2-1 victory over the defending champions at the Juventus Stadium.

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Juventus will travel to Real Madrid next week nursing a one-goal advantage following a 2-1 win on Tuesday night in the first leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final.

Juve took the lead nine minutes into the game when Alvaro Morata slotted home the rebound after Madrid keeper Iker Casillas failed to hold onto a shot from Carlos Tevez.

The 22-year-old refused to celebrate the goal, later saying that it was out of respect for a club with whom he'd won last season's competition.

But within 20 minutes Cristiano Ronaldo had equalised. It was the 54th goal of the season for the Portuguese world player of the year.

Early in the second half, Real fell behind for the second time.

Dani Carvajal tripped Tevez in the box and the Argentine dispatched the spot-kick.

Juventus could have gone to the Spanish capital with a bigger advantage had Fernando Llorente been more clinical with two late chances.

The Madrid manager, Carlo Ancelotti, said his side would need patience and the full support of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium during next Wedensday's second leg .

"We'll be confident because we are playing at home and the fans there will help us. The result is a negative one but not such a bad one," he added.

Real are expected to reach the final in Berlin on 30 May. They've been in the semi-final for for past four years and claimed the title last year - their 11th European Cup.

By contrast Juventus haven't dazzled in the latter stages of the competition.

They've won it twice - in 1985 and 1996 - but have lost in five finals.

Reaching this season's semi-final has at least helped Allegri step out of the shadow of his predecessor Antonio Conte. He led Juventus to three consecutive titles before leaving last summer to coach the Italy national team.

"Conte was a sort of hero to the Juventus fans," Gazzetta dello Sport football writer Alessandra Bocci told RFI. "After being relegated to Serie B for the match fixing scandal, Conte led them out of there and to the championships. It wasn't easy to accept another coach especially one who had been the manager at one of their biggest rivals."

Last weekend, after guiding Juve to their fourth Italian title on the trot, 47-year-old Allegri reflected on his first season in Turin. The former AC Milan coach recalled how fans spat at his car and belittled his early season achievements with the team.

The jibe was that any fool could send the side because it had been so well constructed by Conte.

"Allegri's been very good," Bocci added. "He's a quiet man and he's waited for the right moment to give something new to the club and to the team. He wanted to win the Italian title and he's done that. He wanted to do better in the Champions League than Conte and he's doing that."

Conte only reached one Champions League quarter-final during his time at the helm - 2013 when Juve were eliminated by the eventual winners Bayern Munich.

Defender Patrice Evra said after Tuesday night's game that the Juve players had showed immense pride. "Against a great Real side, we showed a lot of people what it means to play for a club like Juventus.

"A lot of that is down to Allegri, and the club's staff, who helped us prepare for this game in the best way possible. Our coach is just like us, he wants to get to the final."

Allegri's squad could be boosted by the return from injury of the dynamic French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Extra muscle in the middle would be helpful but Allegri acknowledged that another goal for his side in Madrid would be crucial.

"Next Wednesday we'll be up against an extra motivated Real side. I want to repeat, we have to play better than we did in Turin. We have to score against them, otherwise reaching the final will be difficult."

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