Juve claim Real scalp

Juventus produced a stunning rearguard action to hold on for a famous 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League here on Tuesday to take control of Group H.

Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri gave the hosts a two-goal lead before Real's Dutch contingent laid siege to the Italians' goal but could only muster a single reply through Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The victory leaves Juve top of the group on seven points, one ahead of Real and well clear of Zenit St Petersburg and BATE Borisov, who drew 1-1 in Russia earlier in the day.

The result also eases the pressure on under-fire Juve boss Claudio Ranieri, whose team have been faltering in Serie A.

Early strike
Juventus stunned the visitors in the fifth minute with a piece of sublime quality from Del Piero. The evergreen forward ran over a through ball, leaving it for Amauri, and then took the Brazilian's pass in space before curling a delightful shot into Iker Casillas's top corner.

It was great movement from Del Piero but Real coach Bernd Schuster must have been wondering how his team were opened up so easily.

Despite Juve's rocket start, Madrid gradually started taking a grip on possession and Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart twice made space to shoot, sending the first just over the bar and the second too close to Alex Manninger in the Juve goal.

Defender Sergio Ramos had a great chance on 32 minutes when he found himself clean through after taking a long ball on his chest, but his control let him down and Manninger came out to smother the ball.

Real clearly hadn't learnt their lesson from the first half and conceded another goal just four minutes into the second period.

Portugal defender Pepe played a sloppy pass out of defence and veteran Czech winger Pavel Nedved burst onto the ball and scampered to the byline before sending over a deep cross to the back post where Amauri rose highest and his downward header clipped Gabriel Heinze's foot and wrong-footed Casillas, going in off near the post.

Dutch threats
Van der Vaart was proving Real's biggest threat and on 50 minutes he should have done better than missing the target from six yards with a header from Wesley Sneijder's clever chip into the box.

Real's chances were falling to unlikely sources and minutes later former Chelsea flyer Arjen Robben rose in a crowded box but headed wide from a Sneijer free-kick.

Real's Dutch contingent were running the show and Sneijer took over the shooting duties next, forcing Manninger to tip one shot wide and beating the Austrian stopper but not the post with another.

Van der Vaart stepped up next and forced Manninger to punch clear his vicious free-kick.

Juventus finally cracked on 66 minutes through a link-up that could have been made in Manchester.Former United defender Heinze crossed from the left and yet another Dutchman, van Nistelrooy, directed a powerful downward header into the goal.

It was backs to the wall stuff for Juve from then on and Real kept knocking at the door but the Italian giants held firm for a vital three points.