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Juventus 2-1 Lyon (2-2 agg): Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace not enough in last-16 exit

With a place against Manchester City awaiting the victor, it felt fitting this was a tale of two ex-Manchester United No 7s.

In Lyon’s corner stood Memphis Depay and in Juventus’ corner stood Cristiano Ronaldo.

One arrived smiling, the other scowling and come the end of the night they were back in to default settings. Depay struck first with a contentious penalty and Juventus needed three. Much as it was last year at this same stage against Atletico Madrid, Juventus pined for a one-man magic show and they almost got it. 

Ronaldo huffed and puffed. At 35, it is getting harder to pull rabbits out of the hat. He lined up one free-kick after another and crashed them into the wall. He needed three and finished with two. 

History from 18 months ago was not to be rewritten.

‘Unfortunately, it’s a matter of centimetres that makes the difference,’ Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci said afterwards. ‘We created many chances. It’s a pity.’ 

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, unused on the night but a pillar of the club for a decade now, was more magnanimous in his verdict. 

‘There were some moments of light and some shadows, so our utopia is to push the clouds away and bring in the light constantly,’ the veteran explained. 

‘Obviously, that’s never possible to do it all the time, but it’s what we work towards.’  

Rodrigo Bentancur was the guilty party for the Depay goal – the strike that proved decisive on the night as Lyon progressed on away goals. He took ball and man against Houssem Aouar, the referee refused to check it with VAR and a sublime panenka made it 1-0.

Only when Ronaldo was off free-kicks did luck change. Miralem Pjanic, leaving for Barcelona this summer, saw his set-piece strike the hand of Depay, who frankly had no chance to get out the way, before the interval. Penalty. 

With VAR available referee Felix Zwayer was again uninterested.

Ronaldo stepped up but there was to be no panenka, no frills. Goal. Two more and Juventus would progress. The ascent up the mountain was underway. 

One arrived, a stunner from 25-yards on the hour which caught everyone – including the commentary team – out. Juventus saw the summit and yet Ronaldo simply ran out of time.

Ronaldo is the Champions League’s own Benjamin Button; 130 goals in this competition says as much. 

Missing out on the Serie A MVP award to team-mate Paulo Dybala irritated him, as did the mocking of team-mates this week in training. The search for sweetness in an air of sourness dragged on 96 minutes. 

For all the talk of an undercooked Lyon rolling into Turin on Friday night, Rudi Garcia’s side turned up hot. It was Maurizio Sarri’s side that looked like they had been the ones with almost five months off.   

‘It’s a competition that takes no prisoners, as after our great results in the tournament, we are still out,’ Sarri said in defeat. ‘If I take away the huge disappointment at the elimination, then I am very happy with the team this evening, as they showed character and gave their all. If we hadn’t been eliminated, I’d return home happy tonight.’ 

Sarri repeated he is not concerned for his job. He would not be sacked based off one match, he said. Now what, Maurizio? Stay clear of those newsagents in the morning. 

For an introverted character like Sarri, cigarette butt dangling from his mouth as precariously as his side’s hopes of progressing, he was playing Russian roulette with his future here.

The second half began much as the first, Lyon retreating into a rigid shape with that preferred back five and making life awkward and difficult. 

Only Ronaldo reads games differently to all around him – even now, even at 35. 

The hour mark struck, Lyon camped in and twenty-five yards out Ronaldo took aim and picked out the top corner. Lopes could do nothing. It felt rather cruel there was no crowd there to congratulate him. Another blunt reminder how these nights, as dramatic as this one played out, remains hollow with no supporters to see it. 

At this stage Depay was hooked, his role in this story, a sublime panenka penalty after 10 minutes, significant but fleeting. It was a one-man show from here on out, the camera man barely deviating from Ronaldo. 

Now came the acid test for Lyon. On came MVP Dybala and Aaron Ramsey. Ronaldo, while still no sign of a smile, exuded a different confidence. Taking his tally of Champions League goals to 130 and breaking the record for goals in a single season for Juventus with 36, there were flashbacks to that Atletico game 18 months ago. 

Could he really do it again?   

Six added minutes arrived, Juventus appealing for everything, all to no avail. A free-kick two minutes into stoppage time appeared to cause a unanimous intake of breath. Ronaldo lined it up but again struck the wall and Lyon celebrated the block more than they did for Depay’s goal 80 minutes prior.  

Juventus had never gone out in a European tie against French opposition before now. Before Friday night it was just one win for Lyon in the two sides’ head-to-head – and that came back in March.

For Garcia, it was ‘the happiest defeat’ of his career. He added: ‘It’s one of the most satisfying moments of my career and getting past Juventus really is an exploit.’

For a while it looked like history was to repeat itself with a Ronaldo hat-trick saving the day in a last-16 tie. In the end it was the goal of another former Manchester United man that proved decisive in the greatest night of a miserable season for Lyon.

City knew a former United No 7 was next but few would have had forgotten man Depay as the first in line. 

 

Host commentator

Lyon are through to the quarter-finals where Manchester CIty await.

What a moment for the Ligue 1 club.

It is desperate attacking and desperate defending.

Juventus try and find a gap but there is just a wall of dark blue. 

Lyon hack it away, Dembele carries, Reine-Adelaide on the right and into the corner.

That is enough. They are through!

Still nothing doing.

De Ligt has moved up top but concedes a foul as the ball goes into the box.

It’s been valiant from Juventus but it really does not look like enough now. Lyon launch it long, to the corner but lose it.

One last attack…

Off the top of the wall, Bentancur to take the resulting corner but it is cleared.

 

Marcelo fouls Higuain, just right of centre, 25 yards out. Crazy angle, but Ronaldo will try it…

Lyon waste a corner, Juventus try and break away but Lyon players are chopping them down all over the place in their desperation.

Marcal take the hit and becomes the NINTH player booked tonight.

Somehow Lyon are holding on here and not even giving a chance away.

Six minutes of stoppage time.

Dubois off, Kenny Tete on at right wing back. Aouar off, Mndes on.

Another Juventus corner, but a foul byB onucci to cede the opportunity. Fouls galore now. 

Caqueret, the young midfielder who has impressed tonight with some inventive work on the ball, is the latest to go into the book.

Well this is sad. Paulo Dybala, who was a risk to throw on in the first place, has pulled up and is being replaced himself. The injury could not be shaken.

Young Marco Olivieri takes his place and has a chance to become a hero.

He wins a corner, there are claims of hands, but another corner is given.

Ronaldo is entering virtuoso mode now, his eyes fixed squarely on the Lyon net.

He does find time to tee up Dybala to hammer one just wide.

Less than ten minutes now, but Lyon are sitting deeper and deeper.

What on earth happened there?

The ball goes into the Juventus box, Szczesny runs out of his goal, Dembele is chasing the ball but Ramsey comes in with a high foot. Screams for a spot-kick from Lyon, it goes upstairs but they say no.

Cornet then gets booked for his protests. The corner is awarded but wasted.

Worked back in by Caqueret to Dembele and his effort is blocked.

Dybala gives us a glimpse with a lovely pass to Rabiot, who finds Ronaldo but the Lyon defence scramble to conceded a corner.

The corner comes in, Ronaldo rises highest and somehow his header doesn’t go in.

Lopes in the Lyon goal is yellow carded for apparently time wasting. He may not be the last to try that.

The pressure is building on Lyon now. Another foul, about 35 yards out. Obviously Ronaldo sees his name in lights so goes to smash one but it hits the wall. Disappointing.

Seventeen minutes for Juventus to find that magic moment.

Bernadeschi and Cuadrado off.

Danilo and, more importantly Dybala on.

Is he fit enough to make a telling contribution?

Just before that, Ronaldo danced down the left like it was 2004, hung one up for Higuain but he could not get over the ball and headed high.

Ekambi off and former Arsenal youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide is on.

Moussa Dembele is also thrown on for Memphis Depay.

Maybe Lyon feel the best form of defence is another goal?

Suddenly Juventus are alive.

Andersen charges down a shot, then from the corner Bernadeschi should have steered it home but could not find the target.

There is an intensity now that was lacking three minutes ago.

Lyon respond by bringing on Joachim Anderson for Jason Denayer. A possible injury there.

Game on.

One goal in it now.

Well there we go. Just as the game was drifting and the life fading from Juventus, up steps Ronaldo to absolutely lash one home.

He gets it just inside on the right, takes a couple of steps and with his left boot just launches one into the net that Lopes palms onto the post and in.

Guimaraes lashes one wide. 

Juventus are still struggling for any kind of real control.

Sarri turns to Aaron Ramsey who is stripped and ready for action on the touchline. QUite instructive that it is not the half-fit Dybala who was called for.

Another free-kick for Juventus, Pjanic sends it and Lopes comes out with a flying Superman punch that looks mighty impressive.

Juventus are on the front foot but they have hardly come flying out of the gates here.

Every time I watch Maurizio Sarri, I wonder what exactly his style of football is meant to achieve. With Chelse,a he was saved by Hazard, with Juventus he is saved by Ronaldo. Can the Portuguese do it one more time?

Away we go.

Juventus need to find two goals in 45 minutes to progress. No penalties possible due to Lyon’s away goal.

On we go.

3 – Cristiano Ronaldo is just the third player to score a Champions League goal against a specific opponent with three different clubs, after Jorg Butt against Juventus and Ruud van Nistelrooy against Bayern Munich. Composed. pic.twitter.com/7Rci2Epv9K

The whistle blows andthe sides go in.

Memphis Depay’s penalty gave Lyon a crucial away goal but a spot-kick from Ronaldo has kept Juventus’ hopes alive.

All to play for, the Old Lady still need two goals to progress but they’ve done it before…

Four minutes of injury time to play. More bickering among the players.

There is some niggle out there. Bentancur hacks down Toko-Ekambi while in full flight to become the fifth booking of the night.

Depay’s free-kick comes to nothing wide on the left.

Another cool penalty and that is one down, two goals to go for Ronaldo and Juventus.

However, two dodgy penalties that frankly VAR has done nothing to clear up entirely.

That seems very harsh, he tried to get out the way but couldn’t.

Ronaldo lines it up…

Well he came closer than I expected. Slightly on the left edge of the D, 25 yards out, he lifts it over the wall and Lopes just claws it away brilliantly. Stunning save.

ust five minutes until half-time already. This game is flying by.

Ronaldo then wins another free-kick, almost the same position but slightly deeper and wider on the left.

It’s wide… but there’s a handball! A penalty? It is! Pjanic took this one and it clattered into Depay but his arm looked tight to his body.

Some clever interchange right on the edge of the box between Ronaldo and Bentancur, the latter then looks to break into the box but Dubois chops him down to conceded a dangerous free-kick and pick up a yellow card.

Ronaldo lines up another to hammer into the wall…

Ronaldo hammers another free-kick into the wall.

Then Cuadrado, from deep and narrow on the right, lifts in a cross that Higuain meets but there is not enough power in that and Lopes can gather gratefully.

Width seems to be a little bit of an issue for the hosts at the moment. There is nothing particularly intense about their style. Another ball goes wide but it is easily snuffed out by the defence.

Rabiot then gets clipped by Guimaraes to win Juventus a free-kick.

It’s all gone a little quiet, until Juan Cuadrado picks up a yellow card for a foul on the right. 

He is filling in at right-back today, as he has been doing increasingly so over recent seasons.

Depay’s free-kick is not as good as his penalty and Szczesny claims.

This looks like a very difficult task for Juventus now.

They are looking very stodgy in possession while Lyon are more energetic and purposeful in attack and defense. Still a long time to play, though.

Bernadeschi decides to take matters into his own hands and dances along the right byline into the box, past the keeper but is somehow denied just inches from the goalline.

Lyon celebrate that defensive rearguard action like a goal. It could be just as important.

 

Potentially the coolest spot-kick you will ever see from Memphis Depay.

Three goals needed for Juventus now, and Lyon are touching the quarter-finals.

Hossem Aouar goes through, is brought down by a sliding defender nd that is a spot kick! A huge moment for Lyon. VAR checks it…

A slow start, you might say.

But then Lyon are sloppy at the back, Higuain feeds Ronaldo but he iis stretching and fires over.

Lyon then attack, it falls to Aouar on the edge of the box and he lashes one just wide!

Very, very close.

Juventus, obviously, dominating possession in the early stages as they try to get the Sarriball machine moving.

Maxence Caqueret, on European debut for Lyon, chops down Alex Sandro about 40 yards out.

One guess who is over this… It’s obviously Pjanic, who lifts one in but it is headed clear then the flag goes up.

Away we go in Turin. Ninety minutes for Lyon to survive, 90 minutes for Juventus to rescue their European dreams.

That familiar theme, so long absent, is belted out as the players stand to attention.

A quick bump of fists in the middle with the captains and we are nearly underway.

Of course, young Lucas Tousart, the first-leg matchwinner, has since departed for a pre-arranged move to Hertha Berlin.

And just the 128 goals in the competition too…

5/11 – After losing the first leg of a Champions League knockout match, Juventus have progressed from five of their 11 previous ties, including the most recent occasion it occurred against Atlético Madrid in the Last 16 last season. Hope. pic.twitter.com/4hR6nlypWu

Predictably, Ronaldo returns after being rested last time out.

However, his partner up top Paulo Dybala is only on the bench due to a niggling injury.

Lyon are also without their main goal threat Moussa Dembele who has been dropped. The break does mean that Memphis Depay has recovered from a cruciate ligament injury to start.

The Juventus boss said: ‘I don’t think my future is riding on this game.

‘Thinking this way you make the club directors look like amateurs.

‘I think I’m dealing with high level directors. They will decide whether to continue or to change. But it doesn’t depend on a single game.’

Half an hour until kick-off…

LYON: Lopes, Dubois, Denayer, Marcelo, Marcal, Cornet, Caqueret, Guimaraes, Aouar, Depay, Toko-Ekambi

SUBS: Tatarusanu, Diomande, Andersen, Rafael, Bard, Tete, Mendes, Lucas, Reine-Adelaide, Traore, Cherki, Dembele

JUVENTUS: Szczesny, Cuadrado, de Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro, Bentancur, Pjanic, Rabiot, Bernadeschi, Higuain, Ronaldo

SUBS: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Chiellini, Danilo, Rugani, Demiral, Ramsey, Matuidi, Muratore, Dybala, Olivieri

Follow that below…

Hello, and thanks for joining us as the Champions League finally returns!

Stick with us for all the action from Juventus v Lyon tonight as the Serie A giants aim to overturn a 1-0 deficit in Turin.

It promises to be a fine night.

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