Ronaldo’s hat-trick fires Juventus past Atlético and into quarter-finals
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning hat-trick as Juventus stormed back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to defeat Atlético Madrid 3-0 and reach the Champions League quarter-finals, Trend reports citing The Guardian.
The Portuguese is hoping to help lift a fourth successive European Cup while Real Madrid, who sold him to Juve for £88.3m (€100m) last summer, were eliminated in the last-16 by Ajax last week.
Two late goal had earned Atlético their first-leg advantage but Juve, runaway leaders in Serie A after going 27 games unbeaten and 18 points clear of Napoli, dominated early possession. Blaise Matuidi and Federico Bernardeschi had shots blocked before Antoine Griezmann’s shot troubled the Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, but Alvaro Morata was flagged offside.
Juve responded and took the lead in the 27th minute through Ronaldo, who out-jumped Diego Godin at the far post and headed Bernardeschi’s cross powerfully beyond Jan Oblak. It was the Portuguese’s 22nd goal in 36 games for Juve and his 23rd in 33 appearances against the Spanish club.
Bernardeschi twice fired over from outside the area and Ronaldo went close to levelling the scores on aggregate when he headed Leonardo Spinazzola’s cross wide. Giorgio Chiellini went closer just before half-time as his header towards the top corner forced a brilliant save from Oblak.
Atlético, second in La Liga behind Barcelona, stirred in first-half stoppage time. Morata, back in for the suspended Diego Costa, headed Koke’s fine cross inches over the crossbar.
Four minutes into the second period Ronaldo got his second to level the tie, soaring highest again to head home João Cancelo’s cross. Oblak appeared to have pulled off a fine save but the Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers checked with the goal-line technology on his watch and correctly awarded a goal.
Bernardeschi made a hash of his header from another Cancelo cross before Atlético’s Angel Correa crashed a rising shot just off target.
Mario Mandzukic fired an angled effort wide as the game entered the final quarter and Moise Kean was narrowly off target as Juve chased the decisive third goal.
There were four minutes remaining when Bernardeschi’s storming run carried him into the box and when he was nudged over by Correa, Kuipers pointed to the spot and Ronaldo made no mistake from 12 yards.