LOS ANGELES (California): Substitute Marco Asensio made an immediate impact by scoring two early second-half goals as Real Madrid rallied to beat Juventus 3-1 in a pre-season exhibition contest on Saturday.
Asensio entered the game at the start of the second half and scored less than two minutes in before adding another in the 56th minute.
It was the first defeat of the pre-season and the final match of the International Champions Cup campaign for Italy’s Juventus. The Serie A champions now open up their title defense at Chievo on August 18.
They were without new signing Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not make his debut against his former team. The Portuguese superstar skipped the club’s US tour because he was recovering from his World Cup performance.
Gareth Bale also scored for the European champions as the Welshman served notice that he is going to produce despite the loss of Ronaldo.
Bale hit a stunning shot from 20 yards out in the 39th minute to level the score at 1-1 in the front of the crowd of 60,000 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Bale finished with 16 La Liga goals last season and is in his fifth campaign with Real Madrid.
Asensio subbed in after half-time and wasted no time getting on the board.
He finished off a drive by side-footing a shot home in the 47th minute on a rush with Vinicius Jr., who also entered the game at half-time.
Asensio scored just nine minutes later to make it 3-1 for Real Madrid on another unselfish pass, this time from Lucas Vazquez. Asensio’s shot deflected off the right arm of Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and trickled into the net.
Juventus’ lone score came in the 12th minute on an own goal by Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal.
Carvajal was trying to corral Joao Cancelo’s left side cross when he deflected the ball into his own net.
It was the first pre-season defeat for Juventus, who were without many of their key attackers for their US tour, including Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.
MILAN, INTER WIN
Juventus’ fellow Italian sides and Serie A giants AC Milan and Inter Milan also won their matches against Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais.
A wasteful Barcelona side were punished on the last kick of the game at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Saturday as Andre Silva turned in Franck Kessie’s ball in stoppage time following a counter-attack which began after Riqui Puig missed a golden opportunity to win it for the Catalans.
Barca were the better side for most of the match but failed to make their dominance count in the final third and missed easy chances.
Milan’s derby rivals Inter edged past Lyon 1-0 as new signing Lautaro Martinez, 20, scored in the 52nd minute at the Stadio Via del Mare in the historic Italian city Lecce.
Inter, who were playing the second match of their International Champions Cup campaign, were helped by a clever move by Matteo Politano, who dummied Dalbert Henrique’s low cross through his legs, fooling Lyon goalkeeper Mathieu Gorgelin as Martinez scored with his first touch.
The sixth edition of the pre-season tournament features 18 teams overall with matches in Singapore, the United States and Europe. The teams are ranked based on their results from the three matches they play with the best-ranked team being crowned champions.
With only three matches of the tournament remaining, Tottenham Hotspur top the standings with seven points and are expected to clinch the title unless Inter beat Atletico Madrid by more than three goals in their final match.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018