Soccer: Conte admits Juve face uphill battle in Europe
Defeat at Real leaves Turin side with 2 points from 3 games24 October, 18:33
The Serie A champions gave a spirited display, with forward Fernando Llorente cancelling out Cristiano Ronaldo's early opener only for the Portuguese star to restore Real's lead with a penalty.
Their chances of equalising again were limited after Giorgio Chiellini was harshly sent off for a second yellow card early in the second half when the Italy defender's made contact with Ronaldo's face.
The Turin giants are third in Champions League group B with two points from three matches, eight behind leaders Real and two behind Istanbul side Galatasaray, after drawing their opening games to the Turks and to Copenhagen. "Unfortunately we lost a game that was decided by individual incidents, but I'm pleased because we showed we're perfectly capable of holding our own on a stage like this, against a team that will be one of the main contenders to win the Champions League come May," Conte said.
"It's uphill for us now of course, but if we play like we did tonight I'm sure we can make up the lost ground and go through," added that coach.
Juventus were also annoyed that they did not get a penalty after Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal went down in the area.
The Italian sports press agreed that the referee had done no favours to the Turin team, nicknamed the 'Old Lady' of Italian soccer. Indeed, the front-page headline of Thursday's edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport read: "Old Lady Robbed". "Unfortunately we know we can't afford any more slip-ups in the Champions League," said Spain forward Llorente. "We put in a good performance and had several chances to score but the referee changed the game when he showed Chiellini that red card. "Giorgio didn't deserve to be sent off, it wasn't such a bad foul on Ronaldo".
The defeat heaped more upset on Juve after they surrendered a 2-0 lead at Fiorentina on Sunday to lose 4-2 and fall five points behind Serie A leaders AS Roma, who have a perfect record of eight wins from eight games.
It was a better week in the Champions League for Italy's two other contenders. Napoli share the top spot in Group H with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund - all three have six points from three games - after beating Olympique Marseille 2-1 away on Tuesday.
Seven-time European champions AC Milan are second in Group H after holding Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro. They have five points, two fewer than the Catalans and two more than third-placed Celtic.
Milan were especially pleased by the lively and impressive performance by Kakà, who has missed much of the season so far due to injury.
"It was a match of great sacrifice and I'm happy for Kakà," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.
"When he plays in this stadium, he turns it on and a lot of people are beginning to understand that he can give a lot to this team".