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Ronaldo Taunts Atlético Fans On Return To Madrid, Promptly Loses 2-0

Two Uruguayan center backs scored in Atlético Madrid’s victory over Juventus in the UCL Round of 16 first-leg match.

In his first season in Italy after nine season with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the Spanish capital for a Champions League Round of 16 match on Wednesday.

Facing Atlético Madrid with his new Italian club Juventus, Ronaldo was unsurprisingly a target of the home fans at the Wanda Metropolitano. He responded by mocking the Atleti fans, and Los Colchoneros responded by handing the Bianconeri a critical 2-0 defeat. 

Playing at the site of the 2019 Champions League final, two teams with aspirations of returning to the stage in June met in the first leg of two in the Round of 16. 

Ronaldo, who is tied for second-most all time with five Champions League titles — including four with Real Madrid — was frustrated in a scoreless first half. At one point he turned to the crowd and showed them just how many times he’s lifted the Champions League trophy, knowing full well no club has lost more finals than Atlético (three) without winning the tournament, including two losses to Ronaldo’s Real.

But after Ronaldo’s little taunt, it was all Atlético, the home side scoring three times — two of which counted — in a 2-0 first-leg victory with goals from Uruguayan center backs José Giménez and Diego Godín, the two men most responsible (along with Jan Oblak) for keeping Juventus scoreless. 

The opener arrived in the 78th minute, when Giménez was first to a loose ball in the box following a corner kick, smashing the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.

Atlético coach Diego Simeone certainly enjoyed the goal. 

Atletico vs Juventus Highlights

Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone celebrating José Giménez's goal against Juventus on Wednesday. Screenshot: TNT

The second ended up going in off Ronaldo, with Godín doing his best to direct a bouncing ball toward goal for what could turn out to be decisive goal in the tie.

Going down 2-0 in the first leg means the Old Lady must score at least two goals back in Turin on March 12 to have any chance at advancing to the quarterfinals. 

To make matters worse, Ronaldo’s day did not go well. In the first half, both Saúl and Juanfran raked Ronaldo with their cleats in a two-second span, the referee ignoring both infractions. 

Denying Juventus an away goal was just as important for Atlético on Wednesday, though it wasn’t easy. 

Ronaldo nearly scored nine minutes into his return to Madrid. The former Real Madrid star smashed a free kick from about 30 yards out that Oblak did brilliantly to save.

Despite the save, the free kick was costly for Atlético, as Diego Costa was shown a yellow card for antics while in the wall, meaning he’ll miss the return leg in Turin. Thomas was also shown a yellow card that will rule him out of the second leg in what may go down as a Pyrrhic victory for the Spanish club, though Alex Sandro will miss out on yellow cards for Juventus. 

Atlético Madrid was awarded a penalty kick in the 26th minute when Mattia De Sciglio inadvertently clipped Costa, who fell into the 18-yard box. However, replays showed Costa was hit well before he reached the box, with the striker staying on his feet until he arrived in the penalty area and allowed himself to fall to the turf. 

Fortunately, VAR correctly ruled the foul as a free kick outside the box. On the ensuing restart, Antoine Griezmann’s clever effort on target with the outside of his left boot had to be well saved by Szczesny.

Atlético’s best moment in the first half came when four players combined for four consecutive back heels, though this clip doesn’t show the final back heel went straight out of bounds.

Before the two late breakthroughs, Atlético came close to scoring twice in the opening minutes of the second half.

First, Diego Costa was in on goal but somehow pushed his shot wide. 

Then Antoine Griezmann tried to chip Szczesny, but the former Arsenal keeper just got his fingertips to turn the shot onto the crossbar. 

Former Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata replaced Diego Costa in the 58th minute and thought he had put Atlético in the lead with a header off a nice cross from Filipe Luis. However, the VAR ruled Morata pushed Giorgio Chiellini before heading home and the goal was wiped out.

It was harsh on Morata, but probably the right call and the type of thing VAR will hopefully clean up in the game. 

On the other end, after Atlético's goals, Ronaldo set up Federico Bernadeschi only to have the Italian side again denied by Oblak’s giant hands as the match finished 2-0. 

After two scoreless draws on Tuesday between Barcelona-Lyon and Liverpool-Bayern Munich, Wednesday’s matches had much more goal-mouth action.

But now that the first legs of all eight Round of 16 matches are done, we can’t wait for the second legs, especially for Atlético-Juve.

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