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Juventus’ Buffon, Benatia can’t blame referee Oliver for Madrid meltdown

It is often said that a good referee is the referee who makes his decisions and is not seen. Unfortunately for Michael Oliver, in his biggest game to date, this was not the case.

All was going well in the Champions nfl shop free shipping League quarterfinal second leg between the two European giants of Real Madrid and Juventus, especially if you supported the Italians who were 3-0 up, until the final moments of the match.

With the clock ticking down at the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid began a last-ditch attack. As the ball was played into the Juventus penalty area, defender Medhi Benatia inexplicably barged into the back of Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez just as the forward was about to shoot. Benatia made a challenge for the ball but made no contact. He was guilty of impeding his opponent by physical contact, a clear foul.

Anywhere else on the field, this action would have resulted in a free kick being awarded. But in this instance it provided a penalty kick to Madrid and near certain Champions League elimination for Juventus.

Premier League referee Oliver, 33, had no hesitation with his decision and showed immense character to give such a monumental spot kick. His decision was based purely on the actions of Benatia.

Of course Oliver would have been aware of the magnitude of the occasion but, at that precise moment, all thoughts of where he was — the game, the timing, the occasion — would have become secondary. As a referee, the call comes from your gut and what you have witnessed. Oliver was in an optimal position and his body language showed a positive and decisive reaction.

The reaction of the Juventus players was predictable, official nfl shop given the consequences — they were moments away from extra time and could have avenged last season’s defeat in the final to the same opponent.

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Cristiano Ronaldo joy, Gianluigi Buffon woe define wild night in Madrid

One crazy minute, at the end of an incredible Champions League quarterfinal second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, perfectly summed up the contrasting fortunes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianluigi Buffon in club football’s most prestigious competition.

Buffon, the perennial Champions League fall guy, the Juventus veteran with three runners-up medals making his 117th and last appearance in the competition,nfl jerseys cheap shop is sent off by referee Michael Oliver for protesting against the awarding of a stoppage-time penalty. And Ronaldo, the man with four Champions League winners medals in his pocket, is given the chance to not only mark his 150th appearance with his 120th goal from the penalty spot but also to salvage a place in the semifinals for Real Madrid by extinguishing Juventus’s sensational fight-back.

Buffon, who angrily confronted Oliver after he penalised Mehdi Benatia for a clumsy shove on Lucas Vazquez, was off the pitch and down the Bernabeu tunnel by the time Ronaldo guided his spot-kick beyond helpless substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to make it 4-3 on aggregate to Real in the dying seconds.

It was brutal on Juventus, who had stunned the European champions by cancelling out the 3-0 first-leg lead built up by Real in Turin just eight days ago. Massimiliano Allegri’s team had seemingly pulled it out of the fire with two goals from Mario Mandzukic and one from Blaise Matuidi to level the aggregate score. From there, Juve were looking strong enough to go the distance by winning the tie in extra time. But along came Ronaldo, the ultimate glory boy, to cast Buffon into retirement with his one last chance of Champions League glory snuffed out in the most dramatic and cruel circumstances.

This was in the impregnable Bernabeu, and Juve should have had no chance. Yet the Italian champions were 2-0 up on the night by half-time thanks to Mandzukic’s double and Real were awful.

Gareth Bale, making a rare start for Zidane’s team, was substituted at the break due to his anonymous first-half display, one that may signal the beginning of the end for the Wales international in Madrid. But Bale was not alone in not being able to put one foot in front of the other for the Spanish giants. nfl shop free shipping All of Zidane’s players, Ronaldo included, produced their worst performance for months or maybe even years as Juventus won every challenge and created every chance.