UCL: Zinedine Zidane weighs in on penalty incident, Gianluigi Buffon's dismissal

Gareth Bale

THE Italian press slammed the decision to award Real Madrid a last-gasp penalty at the Bernabeu, insisting Juventus were robbed. I can't believe they say we went through thanks to the referee, that it was a robbery.

Cristiano Ronaldo rescued Real Madrid from a shock Champions League exit as his injury-time penalty allowed the holders to edge out Juventus in the most dramatic of quarter-finals on Wednesday, taking them through despite a 3-1 defeat. Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, sent off for his furious protests over the decision, bitterly criticised referee Michael Oliver immediately after the match, saying he was out of his depth and should have been in the stands eating crisps.

Just one day after Barcelona were stunned 3-0 at Roma to bow out of the competition on away goals after 4-4 aggregate result, Madrid were rescued by Ronaldo as he scored for the 11th consecutive time in the competition in his 150th Champions League appearance.

Karim Benzema might not be at his best at the moment but in games of this magnitude the Frenchman has proven he is still a top player in the Champions League.

"Lucas was pushed from behind and if the penalty was given, it's a goal".

Unsettled on the backline due to the absence of the suspended Sergio Ramos, the Blancos conceded a goal in the second minute when Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic fired home on a cross from Sami Khedira.

Arguably the strongest reaction of all came from the Catalan media, though, who cover the great rivals of Real Madrid, Barcelona.

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New Zealand and England are currently playing their semifinal now at Robina Stadium. "They held their composure, like we did", Walsh said.

But the bold move by the Frenchman paid off and the Spanish worldwide won the winning penalty for Real Madrid in the final minutes of the game.

Boss Zinedine Zidane may therefore opt to rotate his squad for Sunday's league clash at La Rosaleda, although the Frenchman would be wise to think twice before leaving out star man Cristiano Ronaldo.

The twelve (12) times champions of the competition went to the Juventus Arena when the two sides met in the first leg of the tie and won by three goals to nothing.

"I have seen some of their games, it's surprising they are bottom of the table, but our aim is to go there and win". "Just when extra-time seemed inevitable, the referee Oliver decrees a penalty for the Spaniards".

"The pulse increased, but I calmed down, and I knew I'd be decisive", he continued. He scored the penalty and we got the win.

"Semi-finals? Anything can happen in football".

"Step by step, now we're into the semi-finals".

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