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Juventus 3-0 Atlético Madrid (3-2 agg.): Swear Words

Atlético completed an epic collapse in the second leg to send Juventus to the quarterfinals. 

Juventus v Club de Atletico Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

ATM XI: Oblak, Arias (Vitolo 77’), Godín, Giménez, Juanfran, Koke, Rodri, Saúl, Lemar (Correa 55’), Morata, Griezmann

JUV XI: Szczesny, Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Spinazzola (Dybala 67’), Can, Pjanic, Mautidi, Bernadesci, Ronaldo, Mandzukic (Kean 80’)

After last week’s comebacks in the UEFA Champions League, it was imperative for Atlético Madrid to maintain a clean sheet in the opening minutes of the match. As was to be expected, Juventus started quickly, looking to get back into the tie early on. They almost did on five minutes from a corner as Giorgio Chiellini put the ball in the back of the net, but it was waved away for a foul by Cristiano Ronaldo. Following a look with VAR, the decision was confirmed, correctly. Atlético’s main antagonist clearly kicked the ball from Jan Oblak’s hands. Rather fortuitously, the review slowed Juventus’ momentum, and gave Atlético a chance to regroup following the home side’s early pressure.

As expected, Atlético sat off the ball and defended in numbers, with counterattacks few and far between in the early going. Ronaldo shifted from left to right hoping to take advantage of the mismatch with out-of-position Juanfran, but would maraud around the penalty area, as he does. The first real opportunity of the match fell for Koke who launched a strike from outside the box that went just over.

However, it would be Ronaldo that opened the scoring in the 27th minute from a cross by Federico Bernardeschi that found him at the far post as the Portuguese out-leaped Juanfran. It was almost a certainty that he would score, given his record against Atlético.

Following their goal, Juventus continued to look for the goal that would equalize the tie on aggregate, but with little luck. Atlético were still forced to defend in numbers and withstand the pressure. The few ventures forward they did have were low-risk and prioritized ball-retention over creating a clear chance.

Unfortunately, the second half would start much as the first half went — no possession for Atleti and a Ronaldo goal. It was another header which at first appeared to have been clawed away by Oblak, but goal-line technology showed otherwise. From that point, Juventus took their foot off the gas and allowed more space for the mattress makers to exploit. Despite this, the away side still could not manage a shot on target.

Diego Simeone showed a sign of intent on 77 minutes as he brought on Vitolo for Santiago Arias, who had played well to that point. However, on 85’ minutes, fellow substitute Ángel Correa made a horrendous challenge on Bernardeschi to give away a penalty and give Ronaldo a chance for a hat trick.

And of course, he scored it on 86 minutes.

Atlético have nobody to blame but themselves for this poor performance in Turin, where the opposition got the better of them mentally as well as on the pitch. Juve executed better by diving at every opportunity to force set-pieces and taking the foolish fouls Atlético were willing to commit. In both the first half and the second, the Old Lady came out the better side, with Simeone having very little impact on the match through his team talks or substitutions. In fact, Correa cost Atlético the tie, Vitolo added nothing and that was all she wrote.