Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the record number of goals in a UEFA Champions League group stage as Real Madrid CF all but qualified for the knockout rounds with a draw at Juventus.
The home team took the lead late in the first half with an Arturo Vidal penalty only for Ronaldo, with his eighth goal in four games, and Gareth Bale to turn things around quickly after the interval. In a vibrant contest, the Bianconeri responded and claimed a point thanks to Fernando Llorente's header – but nevertheless slipped bottom of Group B with just two rounds remaining.
Ronaldo had scored in each of his first three matches and, not surprisingly, had the first chance, shooting narrowly wide from an almost impossible angle after dribbling past Kwadwo Asamoah down the right. Madrid were also dangerous on the opposite flank, Bale forcing Gianluigi Buffon to make a diving save with a low strike.
The visitors had long spells of possession while Juventus were more direct and went close to breaking the deadlock when Paul Pogba sent in a menacing low cross. Pepe deflected it towards his own goal but an alert Iker Casillas spared his team-mate's blushes with a wonderful reflex stop.
Ten minutes later the goalkeeper superbly saved Claudio Marchisio's close-range header with his right leg and next repelled a Carlos Tévez attempt. However, Casillas was helpless three minutes before half-time after Raphaël Varane fouled Pogba and Vidal found the top corner from the spot.
Madrid still could have levelled before the break but Ronaldo and Karim Benzema got in each other's way while trying to reach Marcelo's low centre. The two combined more effectively seven minutes after the restart as Martín Cáceres passed the ball straight to Benzema inside the Juve half; Benzema found Ronaldo who duly beat Buffon.
The Merengues kept coming and only the crossbar kept out Xabi Alonso's powerful shot from distance. Juventus tried to respond, Marchisio having an effort rebuffed by Casillas before his follow-up attempt was cleared off the line by Pepe. Instead it was Madrid who struck next, Ronaldo feeding Bale on the right and the Welshman beating Buffon at the near post with a low strike.
That advantage lasted just five minutes as Llorente nodded in a Cáceres cross. A decisive goal proved elusive as the two sides drew for the first time in 16 meetings. While Madrid need a point to make certain of progressing to the round of 16, Juventus are still seeking their first win – though with games against FC København and Galatasaray AŞ to come, their hopes remain alive.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.