News Frontliner Web Desk, 21 February 2019: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Champions League mission with Juventus seems to have ended on Wednesday after losing to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Two goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin has definitely put Atletico within sight of the quarter-finals. However, Atletico coach Diego Simeone said his team is not through yet.
On the other hand, Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri said, “Fortunately we didn’t concede a third goal. Because 2-0 loss is something which can be turned around. We’re not dead yet.”
This was a victory that Atletico fully deserved. Apart from Antoine Griezmann had hitting the crossbar once, VAR twice intervened, correctly, in Juventus’s favour, cancelling a penalty for a foul on Diego Costa and then ruling out an Alvaro Morata header.
While Juventus tried to preserve the stalemate, Atletico were desperate to strike. Simeone introduced Morata, Thomas Lemar and Angel Correa, all around the hour-mark, and his daring strategy paid off.
Juventus are certainly not dead and buried, particularly given both the fact that Costa and Thomas Partey will be suspended for the return match in Turin after each picked up yellow cards.
But the failure to score an away goal, and their clear inferiority in the second half does not promises much hope of a comeback.
“They don’t give you chances,” said Juventus’s Allegri. “They make you play badly.”
Defeat in the last 16 for either of the team would not be easy to digest, for Atletico, who know the final will be played at their own stadium, on June 1, the perfect chance to grapple the trophy off Real in the very city they share.
And for Juventus, whose wait for Europe’s premier prize has now entered its 23rd year, when expectations are higher than ever given they now boast the tournament’s most prolific ever player.
Cristiano Ronaldo suffered a disappointing night being suffocated from the onset by a typically persistent Atletico backline. Perhaps it was frustration that made him wave five fingers in the direction of the baiting Atletico crowd, presumably to signify his five Champions League triumphs. His best contribution was an early free-kick from 30 yards, that had to be pushed over goal bar by Jan Oblak, and the dummy-shot before it, that exposed Costa as encroaching, for which he received yellow card.