Wednesday, 13 March 2019


Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show in Turin with a fantastic hat-trick to inspire a Juventus comeback against Atletico Madrid. The atmosphere in the stadium was electrifying and you could see that the Juventus players were determined. Right from the very first minute till the very last,  they were the better team. 

Juventus could have had the opener in the 4th-minute but VAR review ruled out Chiellini's goal as Ronaldo appeared to have fouled Oblak.  The Bianconeri continued to push forward, take risks and fight for the loose balls while the visitors looked happy to absorb the pressure. Juventus finally got their reward in 27th minute.  Bernardeschi found Cristiano Ronaldo with a delightful cross from the left wing and Ronaldo scored past Oblak. Juventus went in to half time with a one goal lead.

Just 4 minutes into the second half, Cancelo found Cristiano in the box and the Portuguese superstar scored again. Atletico Madrid were being outplayed thoroughly and the hosts wanted to finish this in regulation time. Late in the second half, Bernardeschi went into the box and Correa knocked him off balance and gifted a penalty to the home side. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and scored past Oblak to complete his hattrick. Juventus qualified to the quarterfinals thanks to their 100 million investment.
Here are the talking points from the game:

#1 Who else?! Cristiano Ronaldo!

Cometh the hour, cometh the man! The stage was well set for Mr. UCL Cristiano Ronaldo. Juventus were 0-2 down, most pundits predicted the tie to as done and dusted. The Old Lady needed a hero at Turin and that's exactly what they got. 

Ronaldo was determined, confident and hungry from the get-go. In the 27th minute, Bernardeschi drifted on the left flank and spotted Cristiano’s run on the right post. The former played a delightful cross in and Ronaldo scored a fantastic header to give the lead for Juventus. That goal announced that the game was on and gave belief to the fans.

Ronaldo then proceeded to score from a Cancelo cross in the second half and converted from the spot to clinch qualification. The 100 million they spent on him is looking like a bargain now.

Ronaldo Vs Atletico Madrid

Minutes: 90’

Goals: 3
Shots: 5
Successful Dribbles: 5/7
Pass accuracy: 86%

After the match, Ronaldo said, It had to be a really special night and it was. 
“If we continue like this, we have not won yet but we have reasons to be proud and we are on the right way. That's why Juve signed me and I tried to do my best job. It's a magical night. It was a very difficult team to play but we showed that we were a very big team. We proceed step by step, we will see.” 

#2 Let’s not forget Federico Bernardeschi

Bernardeschi was a warrior on the field last night.  If Ronaldo was the Master Chef of the dish that Juve served last night, Bernardeschi was the sous-chef. He assisted the first goal with his brilliant vision and he won the penalty for the winner. He played the whole game, and started ahead of star Dybala and completely justified his selection. He completed 3 dribbles, tried 5 shots, recorded 80% pass accuracy and won a tackle and overall 9 duels for his team. He chose a perfect game to stand up and deliver.

#3. Allegri won the tactical battle against Simeone

Allegri’s team were really meek in Madrid. Questions rose, why wasn’t Cancelo introduced sooner? Why was Dybala not subbed out sooner? Why wasn’t the midfield tweaked? But in the second leg, Allegri silenced his critics. Whatever instructions he gave to the team, worked perfectly from the very beginning.

Long and deep crosses looked like the main plan, given the aerial prowess of the Juventus attack. They tried 38 crosses, looking for Mario Mandzukic and Ronaldo above Atletico’s makeshift LB Juanfran and RB Arias Leonardo. 

Spinazzola was a wise inclusion and he performed brilliantly and when he looked tired, Dybala was introduced for him to finish the game in regulation time. Dybala had a good little cameo. Cancelo adopted the LB slot and Bernardeschi shifted to the right side. Pjanic and Can made good forward direct passes, while Matuidi fought in midfield. Diego Simeone’s tactic of defending deep and counter-attacking didn’t seem to work at all.

#4 Disastrous performance from Atletico Madrid

Los Rojiblancos
had hoped to at least progress to the final for the chance of playing in their own stadium and in front of their own fans. But the dream ended with a dreadful performance. They never looked like threatening Juventus. They had just 38% possession. They had zero shots on target. They had one big chance but Morata couldn’t head it down. 

Other than that, Atletico Madrid had few counter-attacking opportunities but Bonucci and Chiellini were quite attentive and they snuffed out most of the threats. In games like these, you expect players like Antoine Griezmann to step up, but he was anonymous. He had just one shot which was off target as well. He made zero key passes and recorded a pass accuracy of just 61%. He had no dribbles and won just 3 duels. Diego Costa was a huge miss. If this continues, they can forget about winning UCL anytime soon.

#5 VAR?!

VAR continues to be confusing. Juventus could have had an opener in the 4th minute, but a VAR review reverted the decision. Ronaldo and Oblak went for the loose ball together, but it was adjudged that Ronaldo had fouled the keeper. It went to review but after 2 minutes Ref’s decision stood. If Juventus had lost, it could have been a major talking point. 

Then the penalty call; it looked like a certain penalty in real time but in replays, it didn’t look like a clear penalty. VAR deemed that it was a penalty but it was a soft decision, to say the least. Inconsistencies in decisions have resulted in controversies and UEFA will have to work on several aspects of VAR.  

No comments:

Post a Comment


The competition was won by  Milan  for the fifth time in its history. Milan's triumph took place in a double match against  Roma  ,...