Cristiano Ronaldo strengthened his grip on the Champions League goalscoring record with another crucial treble as Juventus knocked Atletico Madrid out of Europe’s premier competition.
No one expected to see anything other than Diego Simeone set out his side to defend deep and frustrate a desperate Juventus and that’s exactly how it began. However unlike in previous defensive masterclasses, that backline appeared vulnerable. The Italian champions thought they’d scored the opener just a few minutes in but Cristiano was judged to have fouled Jan Oblak. A lucky escape but a sign of what was to come.
Simeone’s side didn’t seem to have a plan on the counter and as such invited Juventus to pile the pressure on. Just before the half hour mark Cristiano - who else? - popped up at the back post to outmuscle Juanfran and sent the fans in Turin wild.
It wasn’t until the end of the first half that Atletico truly threatened Juventus’ goal. The chance to kill off the home side’s momentum fell to Alvaro Morata but he fluffed his lines.
That would prove costly as Juventus - and Cristiano - doubled their lead less than five minutes into the second half. The cross was swung in by Joao Cancelo and his fellow countryman rose highest to beat Oblak. The keeper thought he’d made a world class save to deny Cristiano but goal-line technology confirmed it had crossed the line.
Atletico did improve after going 2-0 down but rarely looked like a side who believed they would grab that crucial away goal to give them much needed breathing space. Allegri threw on Dybala, desperate to avoid extra time, as well as Moise Kean. The youngster had a great chance to score but dragged his effort wide.
One of Simeone’s substitutes had an impact but not the one he had hoped for. Angel Correa brought down the impressive Bernardeschi in the penalty area and this handed the opportunity over to Cristiano Ronaldo to drag his side into the quarter finals. And, as we’ve come to expect, he didn’t fail from 12 yards.
Juventus march onto the next round of the competition whilst Simeone and Atletico go back to the drawing board when it comes to finding that winning combination in Europe.