Ronaldo heroics not enough as Juventus go out of Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, including an unstoppable long-range goal, to give Juventus victory over Lyon in the Champions League on Friday but it was not enough as the French side reached the quarter-finals on away goals.
After both sides converted contentious penalties in the first half, Ronaldo struck from out of the blue on the hour but Lyon clung on for a 2-2 aggregate draw that sent them to next week’s final eight tournament in Lisbon. They will meet Manchester City in a one-legged quarter-final.
The defeat left the Juventus coach, Maurizio Sarri, in an uncomfortable position as the Champions League title eluded the Turin side for another season. Although Juventus have been Serie A champions for nine seasons in a row, they have not won European football’s biggest prize since 1996, when they won it for the second time. Despite continuing the domestic run, Sarri failed to give Juventus the flamboyant touch the club had been looking for as well as missing out on their main goal.
It was an uphill struggle for Juve from the moment they conceded an away goal in the 12th minute, albeit in controversial circumstances. Rodrigo Bentancur appeared to win the ball cleanly from Houssem Aouar but the referee, Felix Zwayer, pointed to the spot and chose not to look at the incident on the pitch-side monitor. Dempay converted with a Panenka-style penalty that sent Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way.
Ronaldo saw a free-kick palmed away by Anthony Lopes but it was another controversial penalty that provided the hosts with their equaliser. Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick struck Depay’s elbow in the wall and, although his arm was close to his body, the referee gave another penalty, again without consulting the pitch-side monitor. Ronaldo converted.
Juventus seemed to be making little progress after half-time until Ronaldo found space for a shot and hammered the ball past Lopes from distance on the hour.
After that, it became almost a Ronaldo one-man show as he set up a chance that Gonzalo Higuaín headed over, then nodded over himself and drilled a free-kick into the wall. But a decisive goal eluded the Italian champions.