This was Operation Cristiano Ronaldo in all its glory. Without the Champions League trophy since 1996, Juventus turned to the man who has caused them – and so many others – so much heartache and a man who is never far away from the trophy.
Just look at Real Madrid without him. Stunned by Ajax. As for Juventus, they are profiting immensely. Having fallen flat in Madrid, there was never a worry he would miss the mark again.
There was VAR drama. Goal-line technology was called into action and the final nail in the coffin came from the penalty spot – but in the end this is what he predicted. Ronaldo told us all he would score a hat-trick and he did. His finest moment in a Juventus shirt came at the most important moment.
Cristiano Ronaldo thumps home from the spot to ensure Juventus’ progress to the last-eight of the Champions League
Ronaldo’s hat-trick completed an incredible comeback from the Italian giants after losing the first leg 2-0 in Madrid
Ronaldo embarks on his trademark celebration after notching his eighth hat-trick in the Champions League
Ronaldo swivels in the air and receives the adulation of the home crowd as Emre Can joins in the celebrations
Ronaldo finishes his celebration with aplomb after completing the job for Juventus in overhauling Atletico Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo heads his second goal of the night despite the best efforts of Jan Oblak to keep it from crossing the line
Ronaldo’s goal was awarded by goal line technology as Juventus drew level on aggregate four minutes after half-time
Ronaldo is mobbed by team-mates after his second goal set up a grandstand finish at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night
Cristiano Ronaldo towers over Diego Godin in the air to score the opening goal of the night for Juventus before the half-hour
Ronaldo celebrates after breaking the deadlock from Federico Bernadeschi’s cross to the far post after 27 minutes
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE
Juventus (4-3-3): Szczesny; Joao Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola (Dybala 67); Can, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi, Mandzukic (Kean 80), Ronaldo
Subs not used: Perrin, Caceres, Rugani, Bentancur, Caviglia
Goals: Ronaldo 27, 49, 86
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak; Arias (Vitolo 77), Godin, Gimenez, Juanfran; Saul, Rodri, Koke, Lemar (Correa 57); Morata, Griezmann
Subs not used: Adan, Kalinic, Savic, Carro, Montero
Booked: Juanfran, Gimenez, Vitolo
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers
Juventus started like a squad possessed. The club’s ultras, housed in their Curva Sud stand behind the goal they attacked in the first half, cancelled their planned protest to ensure a sell-out for the visit of Atletico. A cacophony of noise every time Juventus had the ball. A chorus of boos with every Atletico touch.
It was almost the dream start. The home support knew how important an early goal would be and 30 seconds in a jinking run from Blaise Matuidi saw him fizz in a low cross, only for Mario Mandzukic to see his effort deflected away.
It was a sign of things to come and three minutes later Juventus thought they had cracked Atletico. But VAR begged to differ. Ronaldo stretched to win a loose ball in a tussle with Jan Oblak, it squeezed free and Giorgio Chiellini, making his 500th appearance for Juventus, converted.
There was no on-screen review but the decision was made. No goal. The comeback, for the time being, was still to get going.
Atletico’s hard work was done in the first leg. Sitting deep and allowing Juventus to attack them presented no real danger with Oblak a passenger for large spells while the Italians huffed and puffed.
Giorgio Ciellini taps home from close range after the ball spilled out of Jan Oblak’s hands but the goal was disallowed
Referee Bjorn Kuipers ruled that Ronaldo had kicked the ball while goalkeeper Oblak had both hands on it
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci clashes with Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez in the early stages
Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata rises high to win the ball ahead of Juve’s Italian centre-half Bonucci on Tuesday night
Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann tries to bring the ball forward as the Spanish side defend in huge numbers
Then it came. Juanfran was exposed and Ronaldo struck. The Portuguese has had plenty of experience against the full-back, but at left-back Juanfran looked seriously vulnerable and as Ronaldo put his leap to good use, the ball flew past Oblak and the stadium erupted.
Halfway there. Ronaldo roared to the crowd to keep up the atmosphere. There was never any worry that Atletico could silence this lot.
Federico Bernadeschi, selected to start ahead of Paulo Dybala, enjoyed one of his finer performances in the black and white shirt in recent memory as he proved a constant menace.
So high was the attacker’s confidence, he almost leveled the tie with a spectacular overhead kick only to see his clean connection send the ball narrowly over.
Juventus set the pace – this was their home and their rules, after all – but how Alvaro Morata missed a free header no more than six yards out with seconds left on the clock will leave him and his team-mates in bewilderment long after the final whistle.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri challenges for the ball against Juventus’ French international Blaise Matuidi
Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic leaves the ball for team-mate and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to claim
Federico Bernadeschi attempts an acrobatic bicycle kick for Juventus but sends his ambitious effort over the crossbar
Ronaldo swivels on the ball and aims a shot at goal but cannot find the target for Juventus against Atletico
The ball came in from the right from Koke and Morata found a rare section of space between Chiellini and Joao Cancelo, but butchered his header to the frustrations of his manager, who was left apoplectic in his technical area.
The interval did Juventus no harm, they emerged rampant once more, starting with far more purpose. One became two as Ronaldo again put his head to good use, connecting with a wicked delivery by Cancelo wide on the right.
Oblak got a firm hand to it from close range but Kuipers looked at his watch and signaled that the ball had indeed crossed the line. Make it 24 in 32 against Atletico.
It took Simeone’s side blowing their lead before they actually started to resemble the side that impressed so many in the first leg. Thomas Lemar was hooked, a poor night’s work although he was not alone, and suddenly Atletico began to string one, two, three, four passes together.
Juventus lost the bite in their attack soon after Atletico settled. The tie was level, the hard work had largely been done but Massimiliano Allegri’s men were going for the jugular. They wanted this to turn into a bloodbath.
Morata looks on in disbelief as Chiellini takes a tumble after a coming together off the ball between the two
Mario Mandzukic hangs out a leg to try and get the ball under control but Diego Godin is there to cover for Atletico
Substitute Moise Kean is sent through on goal but screws his left-footed effort wide of the far post for Juventus
Fernando Bernadeschi falls to the ground after he is shoved over by Atletico Madrid substitute Angel Correa
Off went full-back Leonardo Spinazzola and on came Paulo Dybala, shunned from the off by his manager as his future remains a constant source of debate for the club’s supporters.
Atletico were crying out for the skullduggery of Diego Costa. This was too easy for Leonardo Bonucci and Chiellini. Morata is a different proposition, granted, but lacking a focal point, it quickly turned into a long evening.
Then came the drama. The late, late drama. Bernandeschi weaved his way into the box, was hauled down and the referee needed no time to think. Certain penalty. The look on Simeone’s face told its own story. His side’s dream was, once again, ruined by a certain Portuguese.
This was a night written for Ronaldo. A deep breathe out, his cheeks moving as fast as his manager’s feet on the touchline and he converted as he has done so many times over the years.
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