SuperRonaldo's Hatter Sends Juventus into the Champions League Quarters
In their most candid moments over the past three weeks, the crew at Atlético Madrid surely thought they were sitting pretty in the Champions League bracket.
After all ...
- They'd shut down Juventus, 2-0, in Italy;
- They thus put the away-goal consideration in their favor; and
- They hadn't surrendered a goal in their last five games.
Well, they're not sitting pretty anymore.
In the second leg at Atléti's own Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, Juve came out flying and hammered them, 3-0, obviously surrendering no away-goals themselves and doing just enough to be the side advancing to the quarter-finals.
Almost predictably, the telling strike came from the spot in the 86th minute by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, completing a hat trick and denying Los Colchoneros -- yes, Mattress Makers -- yet another shot at their first European trophy.
Way to stick the landing, dude.
And unfortunately for Atléti, they've seen that sorta celebration 'way too many times before.
As the match began, it appeared for a brief moment that the hosts were gonna pick up where they left off in Turin last month. But not for long. Juve immediately trapped and countered in such a way that Atléti could barely get outta their own end.
The strategy nearly produced quick dividends. In the 4th minute, Le Zebre thought they'd posted their first goal through Giorgio Chiellini, but it was waved off for a foul on Atletico's 'keeper, Jan Oblak.
The tone was set, though, and their breakthrough came in the 27th minute when Federico Bernardeschi's crafty cross from the left found Ronaldo, who ... well, enough said:
After the break, it was more of the same. Atléti barely had room to breathe out there.
In the 49th, Ronaldo showed up again, finishing João Cancelo's cross from the right. Oblak actually gathered it in but did so too deep. VAR confirmed the ball had crossed the line:
Atletico seemed to pucker after that one. After all, the scenario they'd doggedly built in the first leg was now in jeopardy.
Just one goal woulda forced Juventus to chase a fourth score to go through.
It'd seemed inevitable for some time that Juve wouldn't be denied, and in the 86th, as Atléti substitute Angel Correa virtually confirmed it.
Dude fouled Bernardeschi inside the box, the referee pointed to the spot, and Ronaldo stepped up to put the dagger in:
And there it went. Another season of shattered Matress Making euro-dreams.
Meanwhile, one could only wonder how the other half of Madrid enjoyed the show.