Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, including two headers and a late penalty, as Juventus stormed back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 in the return and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
With Atletico packing their defence, Ronaldo made the crucial breakthrough in the 27th minute when he rose to head in Federico Bernardeschi’s cross at the far post.
The 34-year-old levelled the aggregate scores in the last-16 clash three minutes after halftime with another towering header, this time from Joao Cancelo’s cross.
The Portuguese produced his latest masterclass in Europe’s elite competition to bring the Italian side back from the brink of a last-16 exit against Atletico Madrid and book their place in the quarter-finals.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Spain, Ronaldo was facing up to the prospect of failing to reach at least the semi-finals for the first time since 2010 – and only the second time in 12 seasons.
With four minutes left, Bernardeschi powered into the Atletico area, was pushed in the back by Angel Correa and Ronaldo blasted home the penalty.
While Ronaldo will get nearly all of the credit, Federico Bernardeschi was out of this world. He started on the right when many thought it would be Paulo Dybala there, but it was a stroke of genius from Massimiliano Allegri.
The Italian star looked fantastic all night long and was responsible for creating the first and final goal. He was the one who put the ball back post to Ronaldo for the opener, and then his magical run down the left late is what won the game-clinching penalty kick. His speed got him by a really fast Angel Correa, and then smartly he crossed in front of the Argentine inside the box to set up a possible foul. Correa then pushed him for no reason and the penalty was awarded. Critical impact.
Atletico was so good defensively and entered the game with five straight clean sheets. That meant sitting back and going all out in defense could be enough while hoping to go on the counter. It backfired, as Atletico failed to register a shot on goal.
Antoine Griezmann seemed to spend more time in his own half, we saw Correa have to track back to his own box to defend, and the moment got to a team that usually doesn’t falter on a stage like this. Atletico blew it, and the team knows it.
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