Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti was forced to defend the performances of Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema following his team’s 2-1 win against Juventus in UEFA Champions League Group B play on Wednesday. Two goals from star man Cristiano Ronaldo proved to be the difference on a night when Benzema missed a clear chance to make it 3-1 to the host, and world record signing Bale failed to impress.
However, Ancelotti praised Benzema’s defensive contribution, in particular. "I want to say something about Benzema,” Ancelotti said of the under-fire striker. “I asked him to help the team a lot defensively in tracking (Andrea) Pirlo," he said. "With three central midfielders, Pirlo is hard for our midfielders to get up to press. Benzema didn't score, but he worked very well for the team and I am satisfied with his performance.”
As for Bale, who replaced Benzema with 25 minutes remaining, the Italian said: "Bale came on when the game lacked intensity and that didn't help him to play better. His physical condition is better and he is now ready to start a game." Real’s next game, of course, is against Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday.
Though Los Blancos now sit comfortably on top of Group B with nine points from three games, the Spanish media was still critical of the team’s inability to capitalize on having a man advantage for most of the second half after Juve defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off in the 48th minute.