Real Madrid CF took control of their UEFA
Champions League first knockout round tie against Juventus FC thanks to
a first-half header from Iván Helguera.
Madrid gained the initiative on 31 minutes when the defender rose
highest to head in a cross from David Beckham on the left. Madrid had
chances to add to their advantage after the break, in coach Vanderlei
Luxemburgo's first Champions League match in charge, but ultimately
strong defending ensured Helguera's goal was enough.
As expected Luxemburgo brought back Ronaldo who had been rested at the
weekend as Madrid lost in the league for the first time under his
command, with Michael Owen on the bench. There was just a single change
from the side that had finished the group stage with that vital 3-0 away
win against AS Roma - when Mariano García Remón was in charge - recent
signing Thomas Gravesen taking over from Guti.
Juve's qualification was much more straightforward, the Italian side
winning Group C by a remarkable six-point margin. Pavel Nedved's place
had been in doubt because of a knee injury but he recovered in time.
Striker David Trezeguet, however, stayed at home because of a bout of
The early exchanges bore out the high-quality flavour of the occasion as
two of Europe's greatest clubs warmed to the challenge. Nedved was soon
inflicting pain on an opponent himself, an accidental early challenge on
Míchel Salgado causing the defender to grimace. In rapid succession
Emerson aimed a shot wide, then Luís Figo drove one in low but Lilian
Considering the miserly nature of the Juventus defence - just one goal
conceded in the group stage - the home team were able to capitalise on a
generous amount of room in the opponent's half. Particularly Roberto
Carlos who produced an immaculate cross to the unmarked Ronaldo. As the
ball flew at him at an awkward height, the Brazilian did well to come as
close as he did, a sidefoot volley flashing just over the top.
The injured Salgado made way in the ninth minute with Raúl Bravo taking
over. There was an exuberance to Madrid's attacking play and they seemed
as if they could make light of the disruption. In the best move of the
night so far Raúl González met another Roberto Carlos cross but saw his
effort clip the bar.
Juventus were no bystanders and Emerson was frustrated when Iker
Casillas got a fingertip to his shot. A free-kick down the left offered
Madrid the chance to go in front as David Beckham swung it in and Iván
Helguera glanced the ball past Gianluigi Buffon on 31 minutes.
Raúl shoots over
With Nedved forced off before the break following a clash of heads with
Raúl Bravo the opportunity was there for Madrid to take a firmer hold on
affairs. Figo was just off target at the start of the second half before
Raúl wasted another great chance. Zinedine Zidane's wonderful control
enabled him to get his shot away and when Buffon made the stop, Raúl
pounced but shot off target.
Casillas holds on
The Spanish side's need for a second goal was emphasised in the 62nd
minute when Ruben Olivera, Nedved's replacement, burst through a
retreating defence and forced Casillas into a splendid parry. Next up to
threaten the lead was Emerson with a strong header. The goalkeeper held
on - and so did Madrid to take an advantage with them to Italy in a