Raphael Varane, Cristiano Ronaldo 9/10 as Real edge Juventus
At the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, Real Madrid got the fright of their lives from Juventus before being saved in injury time by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. They have problems, for sure, and questions must be asked and answered after such a turgid display but they are in the Champions League semifinal again with one eye on a third title in as many years.
Real Madrid found a way to qualify for the Champions League semifinals but there is nothing positive Zinedine Zidane can take from this game. They made very hard work of a game that should have been out of sight and brought their shoddy domestic form from earlier in the season to Europe. This team has issues and Juventus exposed every one of them.
The absence of Sergio Ramos really hurt the home side while several of their biggest names also failed to perform. Marcelo had a nightmare and if any teams wants to trouble los Blancos, they just have to look at this game to see where they are weak. The fact that their biggest names can't co-exist is a massive problem that needs to be addressed.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Zidane eventually heeded the advice being offered to him for free for months in the Spanish media and dropped Karim Benzema. The failed combination of Isco, Gareth Bale and Ronaldo might see the streaky striker reinstated sooner rather than later though. Zidane can't be accused of sitting on his hands with two changes at half-time even if the subs didn't influence the game as he might have hoped. Brave in selection and subs but his players let him down.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Keylor Navas, 4 -- He had no chance for the first goal but should have done better for the second with a weak hand touching Mario Mandzukic's header onto the post. A proper howler for the third means he might not survive such a mistake.
DF Dani Carvajal, 8 -- Everything that Marcelo is not. Conscientious at the back and selective with his runs going forward. A rock in defence for Real Madrid.
DF Jesus Vallejo, 5 -- Failed to make a mark and really struggled against a savvy Juventus attack. Booked late on and never got up to the required speed of the game.
DF Raphael Varane, 9 -- Commanding. Did his utmost to replace captain Sergio Ramos but was overrun and not helped by teammates. Rattled the crossbar at the end of the first half with a powerful header.
DF Marcelo, 3 -- Dreadful. Out of position more often than not and was at fault for both first-half goals. Gave the ball away too often and Douglas Costa had him on toast.
MF Casemiro, 5 -- Far from the imposing figure we have come to expect from Casemiro but most of the play was taking place either side of him. Whipped off at half-time having failed to make any impact whatsoever.
MF Luke Modric, 8 -- Like clockwork in the middle for Real Madrid. His passing and ability to assert control are so important to this side. The helter-skelter of the game didn't suit him but he still got through plenty of work.
MF Toni Kroos, 8 -- A steady hand as always in the first half and throughout the second. Completed the most passes out of anyone and kept his head when everyone around him was losing theirs.
MF Isco, 7 -- Grew into the game but lacked that time on the ball he so often uses to destroy teams with. Failed to break down Juventus and lacked his usual spark. Seemed more of a lack of connection with fellow attackers than anything else.
FW Cristiano Ronaldo, 9 -- Far more involved than he usually is and got the goal that decided the tie. He never stopped fighting and believing even when his teammates were wilting around him.
FW Gareth Bale, 6 -- Quiet first half but was effective when he was on the ball. Along with Carvajal on the right, they caused problems for Juventus. Pulled at half-time as more of a scapegoat than anything else.
Lucas Vazquez, 7 -- Introduced at the break but didn't make an impact until the last play. He was fouled for the penalty that Ronaldo converted in injury time.
Marco Asensio, 6 -- Another player introduced at the break and saw plenty of ball but didn't do anything particularly dangerous with it. Combined well with Isco on the left a few times but that was the measure of his influence.
Mateo Kovacic, NR -- Replaced his Croatia compatriot, Modric, after 75 minutes but failed to assert any control on a game that had lost any shape or structure.
Robbie is based in Madrid and is one of ESPN FC's Real Madrid bloggers. Twitter: @robbiejdunne