Let's hit the rewind button for a second, shall we? It's 2-1, the early goings of the second half, and Giorgio Chiellini's arm goes up into the face of Cristiano Ronaldo. Nothing malicious, nothing that makes you think "Oh, send THAT guy off now!" A clear foul, probably a yellow, and that's about it.
And yet, for something reason, Chiellini is showed a red card.
"There was absolutely not an elbow, but I still have to laugh, because if that can be considered a ‘clear scoring opportunity' then so is everything." -- Antonio Conte
Even with Juventus doing their best to fight back after Chiellini's sending off, it cost Juve big time. Antonio Conte's tactical and formational changes were working and, after a rough start and falling behind 1-0 five minutes in, Juventus were settling in and playing their kind of game. It was almost something that was reminiscent of a game in Conte's first year — high pressing, creating scoring chances, lots of spirit and grinta being shown.
You just can't help but feel like Juve had a chance for at least a draw taken away from them after Chiellini got the boot. This wasn't a Real Madrid that was firing on all cylinders. Even being up a man didn't drastically change things in terms of overall performances from the home side. Don't believe me? Look at all the chances Juve had post-Chiellini red card. It wasn't like they were lacking chances to draw level even with the numbers working against them.
The result isn't the one Juventus should have gotten. But the effort was there. And coming off a game where Juve basically have themselves to blame, this was the response you wanted to see.
Random thoughts and observations
- While Chiellini was unjustly sent off in the second half, his WWE wannabe takedown of Sergio Ramos in the box was certainly avoidable. Sure, there's always going to be battling in the box, but not every ref is going to see things the same as others. But you'd think players would at least have that in the back of their minds, right? To make it even worse, Ramos wasn't going to get the ball simply because it was a simple catch for Gigi Buffon. Again, Juventus shot themselves in the foot and it led to a goal.
- Arturo Vidal had 12 tackles against Real Madrid. TWELVE. And for a good portion of the second half, he was beat to a freaking pulp and looked like he could barely walk. 'Warrior' is a word that comes to mind. Your contract extension awaits you, Arturo.
- Speaking of South Americans who wear high socks, I'd like to say something to Martin Caceres: Welcome back, my friend. That is how you make a case for more playing time.
- I'd also like to say something to Conte regarding Caceres: Play this guy more often — especially if a four-man defense is going to be a regular thing these next couple of months.
- While Caceres was very good against Madrid, the other defender who was brought into Juve's lineup, Angelo Ogbonna, was far from it. Was it just Ogbonna being nervous on such a big stage? Was it the fact that he hasn't played in an actual game in about a month? Was it a combination of everything imaginable? I could throw a lot of things out there and it seems like it could be every single one of them. And for a guy who saw his signing met with mixed reactions, these kinds of games don't exactly help change opinions.
- I'm still amazed that Paul Pogba was able to get on the end of Caceres' cross that led to the first goal. Athletically, this kid is just a freak of nature.
- Fernando Llorente with a goal in his return to Spanish soil. If he didn't have come off after Chiellini was red-carded, it would have been very interesting to see what his impact might have been.
- What could have been. What could have been.
- I mean, Marco Materazzi is saying Chiellini shouldn't have been sent off...