Goals early in either half from Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri sent Juventus to the top of UEFA Champions League Group H as they rolled back the years with an impressive win against Real Madrid CF.
Del Piero was the architect of Juventus's 1-0 win here against FC Zenit St. Petersburg last month and repeated the feat tonight, opening the scoring after five minutes with a spectacular strike. Amauri's header deservedly stretched Juve's lead just after the restart before Madrid woke up, gaining a foothold through Ruud van Nistelrooy's 66th-minute header, though the hosts held fast at the back.
'You're in our soul, immense and unique' read the banner in the Curva Filadelfia Sud as the Bianconeri fans lent their support to a side struggling on the domestic front. The message was particularly resonant as the stadium observed a one-minute silence in remembrance of two people who lost their lives following a coach accident in northern Italy en route to the match, where 26 persons from the Neuchatel Juventus supporters' club and other Switzerland-based Juve fans were also injured. "I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the families who have unfortunately lost loved ones in this tragic accident in Etroubles," said UEFA President Michel Platini, who happened to be at the match in Turin.
Spurred by the rousing welcome, the hosts were quickly into their stride as Pavel Nedvěd sent over two dangerous crosses from the left, while from the other side Zdeněk Grygera picked out Amauri, whose header was held by Iker Casillas. The Spain captain could do nothing about the next attempt on goal, though. Picking the ball up from deep, Del Piero fed it to Amauri who somehow squeezed it back for the No10 to surprise Casillas with an unstoppable effort from 25 metres. Madrid were stunned, but slowly began to find their feet with Rafael van der Vaart his waspish best, thrice giving Alex Manninger cause for concern before the half-hour.
At the other end Grygera found Amauri with another fine right-wing cross which the striker headed wide. Juventus were forced to replace the injured Claudio Marchisio and Nicola Legrottaglie with Hasan Salihamidžić and Olof Mellberg, but the hosts did not appear weakened by the changes. Quite the opposite, in fact, as they quickly extended their advantage. Not for the first time Nedvěd escaped the attentions of Sergio Ramos on the Juve left and dispatched a cross for Amauri to head in at the far post.
Madrid reacted by bringing on Arjen Robben for the ineffectual Gonzalo Higuaín and the Dutchman almost made an immediate impact, heading Wesley Sneijder's cross just wide moments after Van der Vaart had done likewise. The Spanish champions were rejuvenated and Manninger denied Van Nistelrooy and Sneijder again, before the midfielder's swerving shot come back off the post. The pressure soon paid off as Van Nistelrooy rose highest to head in Gabriel Heinze's left-wing cross. The visitors were now rampant, their Dutch midfielders first to every ball and seeking out their compatriot leading the line up front. Yet Juve defended in numbers and held on to make it seven points in three outings, one more than their opponents.