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3 things we learned from Juventus' 2-1 win over Real Madrid

Max Allegri's side pulled off an upset in Turin.

Juventus delivered an excellent performance to cause an upset in their Champions League semifinal first leg at home to Real Madrid on Tuesday. The Italian side saw off the defending champions 2-1, and gave themselves a fighting chance of making their first final since 2003.

Juve were much the better team through the game's opening quarter, and took the lead in just the ninth minute of play when Álvaro Morata poked a rebound past Iker Casillas from point-blank range. It was a shocking start from Madrid, who looked completely bemused by their own tactics.

However, they gradually grew into the game, and Juve's initial intensity began to drop. They equalized just short of the half-hour mark when Cristiano Ronaldo nodded a James Rodríguez cross home for 1-1. Shortly before halftime they almost went ahead: Isco fired a dangerous ball across goal, though James' header came back off the crossbar.

Juve managed to see off Madrid's surge, and early in the second half found themselves back in the lead. A clumsy foul by Dani Carvajal gave Carlos Tevez a great opportunity to give the bianconeri the advantage from the penalty spot, and the Argentine was as reliable as ever from 12 yards.

Juve coach Max Allegri promptly looked to shut Real down by throwing on a third center-back in the shape of Andrea Barzagli. It was a substitution that predictably handed Madrid the initiative, though they failed to break through the massed bianconeri ranks, succumbing to a narrow defeat. It's advantage Juve, though this tie is still far from over.

3 Things

1. That was weird

Champions League semifinals are usually (understandably) cagey affairs, with both sides more eager to keep a clean sheet than to try and win the match -- especially in the first leg. However, this game was strangely pulsating: From the first whistle both teams looked more comfortable with the ball than without it, and the result was a triumph of attacks over defences until Juve's late defensive switch. José Mourinho would have been grimacing.

2. Ancelotti's tactics were confusing

Carlo Ancelotti pulled a surprise for this match, deviating from his usual one-striker formations to play a 4-4-2, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale the duo up top. It undoubtedly contributed to Juve's early dominance, as the hosts were able to control the midfield -- partly through Andrea Pirlo's tendency to drift into space unmarked -- and win the ball back when the Merengues passed out wide.

It was understandable that Ancelotti was willing to sacrifice a man in the centre of midfield and target Juve's wide areas -- the Italians play notoriously narrow, and struggle when the ball is quickly moved laterally across the field. However, this execution of the 4-4-2 didn't seem to have the desired effect for a few reasons. The lack of central movement from James Rodríguez and Isco in the opening exchanges meant that Madrid struggled to switch the play across the field quickly, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale's central roles meant they were never able to isolate Stephan Lichtsteiner in one-on-ones -- arguably where they would have been at their most dangerous.

3. Madrid's dodgy defense gives Juve hope for the second leg

Juventus' midfield advantage meant Andrea Pirlo often found pockets of space in which he was able to play passes for strikers Carlos Tevez and Álvaro Morata. It was an approach that worked well for the Italians, whose physicality and pace up front caused problems for Real Madrid's dodgy center-backs throughout. In the second leg, Madrid should try and stick tighter to Pirlo in order to prevent Juve's direct passing being so dangerous. They'll also have to cope better with Juventus' threat down the right, with Marcelo and Isco having really struggled to track Stephan Lichtsteiner's marauding runs from full-back.