Tuesday 24 October 2017

Gianluigi Buffon struggles to explain Juventus' second-half collapse in Champions League final

Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus FC disappointed after the UEFA Champions League final match between Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF. Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 to win the Champions League. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus FC disappointed after the UEFA Champions League final match between Juventus FC and Real Madrid CF. Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 to win the Champions League. (Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Simon Peach

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was crestfallen after seeing his Champions League dream snatched away.

Defeated at the final hurdle in 2003 and 2015, the 39-year-old admitted in the build-up to the Cardiff showdown he could not let slip this chance to finally get hold of the only major trophy to elude him.

Buffon celebrated wildly when Mario Mandzukic superbly cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo's opener in a thrilling first half against Real Madrid.

However, the veteran was left heartbroken as the Portuguese grabbed his second in between Casemiro and Marco Asensio goals as Zinedine Zidane's side wrapped up a 4-1 win.

Juventus also had substitute Juan Cuadrado dismissed six minutes from time, when the score was 3-1, after two yellow cards.

The Italian club's fifth successive Champions League final defeat may have ended Buffon's hopes of winning the competition.

He said: "We are disappointed. We played very well in the first half, we thought we had enough to win the game.

"I cannot explain why we played like we did in the second half. Real Madrid deserved to win in the second half.

"They showed their class and the attitude needed to play in this kind of game."

Juve had only conceded three goals en route to Wales, only for their miserly defence to be ruthlessly exposed by the Spanish champions.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri said: "I don't think Juventus have reached the end of a cycle at all.

"Buffon and (Andrea) Barzagli will still be with us next year and they still have a lot to give us.

"Clearly we need to improve the team to achieve a higher level of technical skill - but after the holidays we'll go back to work with a new stimulus. Football gives you the chance to go again next year."

Allegri started the post-match press conference by reading out a statement after news broke of injuries to fans watching the final in Turin.

Fans were injured following a stampede at the city's Piazza San Carlo, which reportedly occurred when firecrackers were mistaken for the sound of gunfire.

The Bianconeri coach said: "I'd just like to say that we feel for what happened to our fans in Turin.

"There was an incident there and we're hoping not too many people were injured seriously and we are hoping that they get better very soon."

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