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Juve, Real share defensive mishaps in four-goal thriller

Juventus Fernando Llorente (L) celebrates with his teammate Paul Pogba after scoring against Real Madrid during their Champions League socce
Juventus Fernando Llorente (L) celebrates with his teammate Paul Pogba after scoring against Real Madrid during their Champions League socce

(Reuters) - Iker Casillas gave a world-class performance, Martin Caceres played hero and villain, Cristiano Ronaldo scored as usual and both defences leaked again as Juventus and Real Madrid shared four goals in a Champions League classic on Tuesday.

The 2-2 draw left Real Madrid all but certain of a last 16 place and Juventus bottom of Group B, although they were surprisingly upbeat after one of their best European performances under Antonio Conte.

Casillas, who recently suggested he could leave Real, made at least three world-class saves after his defence repeatedly left him exposed in a game both teams led.

Caceres gifted orange-clad Real their first goal, scored by Ronaldo, but the Uruguayan right back atoned by providing the cross for Fernando Llorente to head in as he continued to haunt Real.

Arturo Vidal opened the scoring for Juventus with a penalty and Gareth Bale scored Real's other goal from a Ronaldo pass.

Real, with 10 points from four games, are all but assured to progress despite conceding their seventh goal in their last three games.

Juventus, Serie A champions for the past two years, are bottom with three, one behind FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray who they still have to play, giving them a fair chance of overhauling both teams.

"You pay for your mistakes against a team like Real Madrid," said Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

"We're lucky because Galatasaray lost tonight, but we have to focus on ourselves and just think about what we have to do from now on.

"Juventus are a great team too but we have yet to prove it."

Real were strangely subdued for much of the first half while Pogba orchestrated some slick moves from the hosts, who are still ruing the last-gasp goal they conceded at home to Galatasaray in a 2-2 draw.

Casillas brilliantly stopped Pepe from scoring an own goal when the defender diverted Pogba's flicked cross towards goal, then blocked a Claudio Marchisio header following another sweeping Juve move.

Pogba then won the penalty as he was knocked over by the slightest of touches from Raphaele Varane, who slid in clumsily, and Vidal fired the spot-kick into the roof of the net, for once leaving Casillas powerless.

The Juventus stadium erupted, including Conte who celebrated wildly on the touchline but was silenced by a nightmare eight-minute spell after halftime.

Caceres, under pressure from two players, tried to pass back but his effort went to Karim Benzema who fed Ronaldo and the preening Portuguese forward side-footed effortlessly past Gianluigi Buffon for his eighth goal in four group games.

He equalled the record for most goals in the group stage held by Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004 and Filippo Inzaghi and Hernan Crespo, both in 2002, although Real coach Carlo Ancelotti remained with his arms folded on the touchline.

Eight minutes later, Real broke down the left and Ronaldo fed Bale who cut inside his marker and fired a low shot beyond Buffon.

In between, Casillas had pulled off another outstanding save by blocking Claudio Marchisio at point-blank range, and Juventus were still not dead.

Six minutes after Bale's goal, Caceres sent over a long cross and Llorente, a regular scorer against Real in his Athletic Bilbao days, stooped to head a deserved equaliser and leave Conte with hope.

"We can play at their level which we had already proved in Madrid two weeks ago," said Conte who has insisted his club cannot compete financially with teams such as Real.

"We will still have something to say in this competition. We feel stronger after this game, and we know what we do on the pitch decides who is going to win or lose, it's up to us."

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ed Osmond, Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net. To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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