Last month in Madrid, Atletico Madrid were entirely dominant against a Juventus side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 2-0. On Wednesday in Turin, Juventus were entirely dominant against an Atletico side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 3-0 to advance, seemingly against the odds.

This was the archetypal two-legged European tie, a contest that outlines the difficulty of playing away from home in a hostile atmosphere. It was essentially won by the Italian champions because they pressed home their period of dominance more ruthlessly, courtesy of a European Cup specialist. It was also won because of Cristiano Ronaldo, the man Juve brought to Italy for these very moments.It felt almost inevitable that if Juventus managed an incredible comeback, the goals would come from Ronaldo, the man who has so regularly punished Atletico Madrid. Incredibly, the past four hat tricks scored against Atletico have been scored by him, and he put Juventus on course for victory with two classic headers and the type of goals Juve have scored so regularly this season: a deep, far-post cross and a late run to overpower a smaller full-back.

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Ronaldo celebrating against Atletico Madrid … on WednesdaySPORTS

Ronaldo: King of Champions League

Published

March 14, 2019

Last month in Madrid, Atletico Madrid were entirely dominant against a Juventus side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 2-0. On Wednesday in Turin, Juventus were entirely dominant against an Atletico side that offered absolutely no attacking threat and won 3-0 to advance, seemingly against the odds.

This was the archetypal two-legged European tie, a contest that outlines the difficulty of playing away from home in a hostile atmosphere. It was essentially won by the Italian champions because they pressed home their period of dominance more ruthlessly, courtesy of a European Cup specialist. It was also won because of Cristiano Ronaldo, the man Juve brought to Italy for these very moments.

It felt almost inevitable that if Juventus managed an incredible comeback, the goals would come from Ronaldo, the man who has so regularly punished Atletico Madrid. Incredibly, the past four hat tricks scored against Atletico have been scored by him, and he put Juventus on course for victory with two classic headers and the type of goals Juve have scored so regularly this season: a deep, far-post cross and a late run to overpower a smaller full-back.

It’s a simple tactic, but it continually proves crucial and is the reason the Italian champions made it through to the quarterfinals.

Ronaldo’s manager, Max Allegri, also deserves credit, for he won the tactical battle. Against a dull, lifeless and overwhelmingly negative Atletico 4-4-2 – maybe it should be considered a 4-4-2-0, given the deep positioning of Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann – Juve played some savvy, shrewd football.

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