NEWS
Wednesday September 18 2019
CL: Atleti fightback stalls Juve

Juventus fumbled a 2-0 lead away to Atletico Madrid, as Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi were cancelled out by set plays for 2-2, but Cristiano Ronaldo almost won it in stoppages.

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These sides famously met in the Round of 16 last season, Atleti winning 2-0 at home, but losing 3-0 in Turin thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. Because of that and his controversial celebration, not to mention his Real Madrid past, CR7 was jeered loudly every time he touched the ball.

Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa were injured, with Mario Mandzukic and Emre Can not even on the UEFA list, so Juan Cuadrado surprisingly started rather than Federico Bernardeschi. Atleti missed Alvaro Morata, and Sime Vrsaljko.

Wojciech Szczesny got down well to push a Joao Felix toe-poke round the post after an excellent solo run, while Jan Oblak was behind a Cristiano Ronaldo snapshot.

Jose Maria Gimenez got his head to a couple of set plays, but always straight at Szczesny, while nobody was in the box to meet a smart Ronaldo cross.

Miralem Pjanic’s scorcher was deflected inches over the bar by Gimenez before the break.

Juventus took the lead straight after the restart with a fantastic goal. Leonardo Bonucci won back possession and launched Higuain, whose inspired pass went across the box to find Cuadrado. The Colombian cut back inside and smashed his left-foot finish into the far top corner from 12 yards, leaving Oblak rooted to the spot. Nobody had scored a Champions League away goal at the Wanda Metropolitano since October 2018.

Cuadrado went on another strong run, but Danilo went for the goal rather than a pass to Ronaldo and Oblak was able to block.

Gimenez turned over as he came sliding in after a very impressive one-touch passing move from Atleti down the right, but Juve doubled their advantage.

Alex Sandro floated a cross from the left and Blaise Matuidi made the run to the near post for a header from point-blank range.

Atleti got back into it from a set play, where they created most of their dangerous opportunities. A free kick was floated over the top for the usual Gimenez towering header and Stefan Savic nodded in from a yard.

It was wide open and Higuain saw his powerful shot beaten away at the near post, then Matuidi’s follow-up cleared off the line by Trippier.

Szczesny flew to fingertip a Vitolo strike over the bar after Danilo’s error, then Atleti had penalty appeals waved away, as Matthijs de Ligt fired the clearance on to Bonucci’s arm from point-blank range.

Once again, the corners proved decisive and in the final minute of regular time, the hosts completed the comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2 with a header from substitute Hector Herrera, who challenged his teammate Gimenez for the ball.

It remained open, Cuadrado’s cross deflected beyond Ronaldo, but deep into stoppages Ronaldo went on a spectacular slalom through defenders and his angled drive skimmed the far post as the Wanda Metropolitano crowd held its collective breath.

Atletico Madrid 2-2 Juventus

Cuadrado 48 (J), Matuidi 65 (J), Savic 70 (A), Herrera 90 (A)

Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Renan Lodi (Herrera 76); Koke, Niguez, Thomas (Vitolo 76), Lemar (Correa 60); Diego Costa, Joao Felix

Juventus: Szczesny; Danilo, Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Khedira (Bentancur 68), Pjanic (Ramsey 86), Matuidi; Cuadrado, Higuain (Dybala 79), Ronaldo

Ref: Makkelie (NED)

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