TURIN, Italy – Cristiano Ronaldo latest masterpiece was so good even the opposing fans had to stand up and applaud.
Ronaldo pulled off a spectacular overhead kick to score his second goal of the night on Tuesday as his Real Madrid beat Juventus 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Even by Ronaldo’s record-breaking standards, this one was special.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had just pulled off a fantastic save to deny Lucas Vazquez but the move continued and Ronaldo leaped acrobatically into the air to meet a cross with his back to goal and smashed the ball into the bottom right corner.
Even the Juventus fans rose to give him an ovation, having jeered his every touch previously. And Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, himself considered one of the best players in history, clutched his head in amazement.
“Cristiano is simply a different player than all the others,” Zidane said. “He shows that every time. He always has a great desire to do great things in the Champions League, he never gets tired of doing what he does. … I’m the coach but also a fan. That’s why I put my hands on my head.”
Ronaldo had also scored the opening goal just three minutes into the game, and he later set up the third for Marcelo as Madrid took a commanding lead back home for the second leg.
In the process, the Portuguese star became the first player in Champions League history to score in 10 successive matches.
“There are two teams better than anyone and they are those that have (Lionel) Messi and Ronaldo,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “They have won 10 Ballons d’Or in 10 years, they have been the Champions League’s top goalscorers for 10 years.
“For that reason Real Madrid and Barcelona have the advantage.”
Juventus now has a near-impossible task to turn the quarterfinal around against the two-time defending champions in the return leg on April 11, after falling to their first home defeat in the Champions League since April 2013.
“You never know in football,” Allegri said. “We have to prepare it in the best way possible because it’s a quarterfinal and everyone will be watching us.”
Sevilla also lost at home in the night’s other quarterfinal, as Bayern Munich came from behind to win 2-1. Jesus Navas’ own goal cancelled out Pablo Sarabia’s opener and Thiago Alcantara headed in the winner for Bayern in the 68th minute.
In Turin, Juventus was out for revenge after losing the final 4-1 to Madrid last year. But Ronaldo once again came out on top.
The Portuguese forward has scored in every Champions League match this season and it took him less than three minutes to continue that tradition, thanks in part to a series of uncharacteristic defensive mistakes from Juventus.
Isco was left in acres of space on the left flank and he crossed in for an unmarked Ronaldo to poke the ball into the right side of the net.
Juventus responded well and could have leveled immediately but Sergio Ramos put in a perfectly-timed tackle just as Paulo Dybala was about to unleash a shot.
Ramos was on hand again in the 13th minute to head Rodrigo Bentacur’s effort away near the goalline.
Juventus – and most of the stadium – thought it had equalized midway through the half but Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas pulled off a stunning save to deny Gonzalo Higuain after Dybala whipped in a free kick from the left.
Having got the away goal, Real Madrid was seemingly content to sit back and hit Juventus on the counter and the Spanish side almost doubled its lead 10 minutes from the break when Toni Kroos’ fierce effort crashed off the crossbar from 25 yards.
Juventus had two penalty appeals waved away on the stroke of halftime as referee Cuneyt Cakir ruled that Casemiro’s handball was not deliberate and moments later adjudged that the same player had not fouled Dybala and instead booked the Argentina international for simulation.
Both sides continued to have chances after the break. Ronaldo’s angled drive flashed just past the left post, while Dybala’s free kick was deflected narrowly over the bar with Navas wrong-footed.
Ramos was booked for the challenge that led to that free kick and will be suspended for the second leg.
The match changed shortly after the hour mark.
Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a fantastic save to deny Lucas Vazquez but the move continued and Ronaldo leaped acrobatically into the air with his back to goal and smashed the ball into the bottom right corner.
The goal was so good that even the Juventus fans rose to applaud – having jeered his every touch previously.
They were still on their feet moments later when Dybala was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Dani Carvajal.
Ronaldo turned provider in the 73rd minute as he played a one-two with Marcelo before the Brazil defender lifted the ball over Buffon and bundled it into the back of the net.
It could have been worse for Juventus as Ronaldo missed several chances to complete his hat trick, while Mateo Kovacic hit the bar late on.
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