Real Madrid will take a slim advantage to
Turin in two weeks time thanks to Ivan Helguera getting the only goal in
a 1-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League last 16 first leg match.
Helguera exorcised a few ghosts from his miserable time against Juve two
years ago, when the Italians ousted Madrid at the semi-final stage, by
heading home a David Beckham free kick after 31 minutes.
The arrival of his third son Cruz on Sunday seemed to bring a sparkle to
the step of Beckham, who was consistently finding his team mates with
Sadly, they seemed unable to do anything with the service provided by
the England captain and it was a night of missed opportunities for Real.
Real club captain Raul Gonzalez went close twice before Helguera found
the net, his first effort requiring a superb reaction save from Juventus
keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Raul could have got Real's second goal 13 minutes after half time but he
suffered from some unlucky timing when he slipped and shot over the bar
when clear in front of goal.
Walter Samuel also hit the bar with a header shortly before the whistle.
Juventus defended doggedly, seemingly happy to settle for trying to
score on the break and they did not have a single solid chance in the
Both sides also suffered from off-form icons.
Real's Ronaldo got the nod over England striker Michael Owen in the
starting lineup, despite his recent run of poor performances.
However, the former World Player of the Year did little to convince Real
Madrid coach Wanderley Luxemburgo he had made the right decision.
After saying he was going to score against Juve on Monday, Ronaldo
extended his barren spell to five games when he failed to deliver on his
His one good effort, 10 minutes into the second half from the edge of
the area, was turned away for a corner by the outstanding Gianluigi
Buffon, and he was taken off in favour of Owen 15 minutes before the end.
Juventus' Alessandro Del Piero struggled in similar fashion.
To add to his mediocre night, Del Piero was booked for a clumsy
challenge late in the game on his fellow number 10 Luis Figo.
Real and Juventus also suffered injuries early in the game to key
Luxemburgo's gamble on the fitness of right back Michel Salgado failed
to pay off.
The Spanish international, who had been suffering from a badly bruised
left thigh since Saturday's 2-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao, was replaced
after just nine minutes by Raul Bravo.
Juventus had to replace their inspirational Czech midfielder Pavel
Nedved after 37 minutes.
It was not Nedved's injured left knee, that kept him out of action for a
month until Tuesday, that caused his departure but concussion from a
clash of heads with Bravo.