Friday 27 April 2018

Ronaldo wows Juve fans with flash of genius

Juventus 0 Real Madrid 3

Cristiano Ronaldo overhead kicks Real Madrid into a two goal lead at the Allianz Stadium. Photo: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo overhead kicks Real Madrid into a two goal lead at the Allianz Stadium. Photo: Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Jack Pitt-Brooke in Turin

This is one of the proudest, loudest, most impenetrable grounds in Europe; last night it stood to applaud the man who conquered it like no-one has done before.

Having put his team ahead in the first minute, Cristiano Ronaldo struck again halfway through the second half with his team under pressure to score a goal that was stunning even by the standards of his own greatness.

Facing away from goal, just inside the box, he plucked Dani Carvajal's cross from high out of the rainy sky and struck it like a tennis smash with an overhead kick that flew into the corner of Gianluigi Buffon's net.

Once 40,000 Juventus fans had assimilated what happened - the audacity, difficulty, and the fact their team was out of the Champions League - they got off their feet to clap.

This was Ronaldo's 23rd goal in his last 12 games - and surely one of the best he has ever scored. This crowd are not used to that type of thing - or to this type of result. Juventus had only ever lost one European game here before, to Bayern Munich's treble winners in 2013. But by losing this game 3-0 - Ronaldo obviously set up the third - they conceded more goals than they did in all six home Champions League games last season.

Having lost nobly in the 2015 and 2017 finals, Juventus finished the evening facing the fact that the quarter-finals will be the end of their European journey this season. What was so frustrating for Juventus was that even before Ronaldo's magical moment, they were underperforming.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal of the night. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal of the night. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

This team is meant to be all about efficiency, details, and doing just enough to get over the line. Tottenham outplayed them for almost three hours, remember, but Juventus scored twice in three minutes to go through. But here they carelessly forgot everything that made them so good.

Juventus clearly knew that a 1-0 defeat here was useless, and they pushed on in the second half. But they only left themselves more exposed at the back and Chiellini, who looked frazzled all night, came for a ball that should have been Buffon's. Ronaldo squared to Lucas Vazquez but when his shot was saved, Carvajal crossed and Ronaldo produced the finish this night will always be remembered for.

When Dybala carelessly kicked Carvajal in the stomach and was sent off that was the end of the tie, but there was still time for Ronaldo to slide in Marcelo to bundle in the third. (© Independent News Service)

Juventus' Paulo Dybala shoots at goal from a free kick. Photo: REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Juventus' Paulo Dybala shoots at goal from a free kick. Photo: REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
Paulo Dybala receives a red card from referee Cuneyt Cakir for a high tackle on Dani Carvajal. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Paulo Dybala receives a red card from referee Cuneyt Cakir for a high tackle on Dani Carvajal. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Marcelo taps in Real Madrid's third goal in Turin. Photo: REUTERS/Alberto Lingria
Marcelo taps in Real Madrid's third goal in Turin. Photo: REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

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