An incredible Cristiano Ronaldo bicycle kick helped Real Madrid thrash 10-man Juventus 3-0 at the Allianz Stadium, in the first leg of their Champions League Quarter-Final tie.
The Portugal forward rose highest to meet Dani Carvajal’s cross with a strike that left Gianluigi Buffon with no chance, having previously given Real Madrid the lead with an early low strike.
The Bianconeri collapsed in 10 minutes of madness in the second half. Shortly after Ronaldo netted his second, Paulo Dybala was dismissed for two bookable offences, before Marcelo took immediate advantage to wrap up the win with a third goal.
Juventus could not have wished for a worse start, as Real Madrid took the lead and an away goal after only three minutes.
Marcelo found acres of space on the left to push forward and, having drawn Douglas Costa and Mattia De Sciglio to him, threaded Isco through expertly. The Spaniard’s low cross between the legs of De Sciglio was met by Ronaldo, who ghosted past Andrea Barzagli to prod past Buffon.
Despite the visitors controlling the ball, Juventus soon came close to equalising. Rodrigo Bentancur found Dybala and the Argentine’s quick one-two with Sami Khedira created space in the box, but a fine sliding Sergio Ramos block prevented the Argentine’s low drive from trouble Keylor Navas in goal.
It wasn’t long until Real Madrid were in again, and the Spaniards squandered a golden opportunity to double their advantage. Having evaded his marker to meet Toni Kroos’ corner on the penalty spot, Raphael Varane scooped a free header well over the bar.
In a frenetic opening quarter, it was soon Juventus’ turn to come close to a goal, as they forced a magnificent stop from Navas. A wonderful deep Dybala freekick was sidefooted by Higuain from close range, but the forward was denied by a stunning reflex save at point blank rage.
Just as the Bianconeri began to take a foothold in the match, Real Madrid fired off a warning shot. Isco’s smart dribble was cut out into the path of Kroos and the German’s first time effort from distance cannoned off the bar.
On the stroke of half time, Dybala went down as he broke between Casemiro and Luka Modric, amidst calls for a penalty, only to be booked for simulation.
The second period started almost as intensely as the first, and Ronaldo came agonisingly close to doubling his tally. A mazy Karim Benzema dribble in the box was brought to a halt by Barzagli, but the loose ball was driven in by Ronaldo from an acute angle. Buffon watched on as the strike rolled a mere inches past the post.
Juventus were not going down without a fight, as Dybala’s curling freekick took a wicked deflection off Ronaldo in the wall, leaving Navas wrongfooted but whistling just wide.
The victory was sealed for the visitors on the hour mark in memorable fashion, courtesy of Ronaldo’s stunning bicycle kick.
The 33-year-old latched onto a Chiellini mistake to draw Buffon out, before crossing for Lucas Vazquez. After the substitute’s drive was parried by the goalkeeper, Carvajal whipped in another delivery, which Ronaldo dealt with aplomb. Teeing himself up on the penalty spot, Ronaldo threw himself in the air and connected with a sensational bicycle kick into the top corner.
Things went from bad to worse for Juventus, as Dybala was given his marching orders. Having been previously been booked, the Argentine caught Carvajal with a high boot and was duly dismissed.
The result was put beyond all doubt moments later, as Marcelo bombed forward and played a smart one-two with Ronaldo, and after firing against Buffon, tapped home the rebound.
Juventus looked well beaten and struggled to break beyond Real Madrid’s determined defence. Indeed, it was the Merengues who looked more likely to rub salt into the wound, as Modric met Marco Asensio’s cross with the outside of his boot, but blazed over.
The defeat could have been much heavier late on, as Ronaldo chested Lucas Vazquez’s cross into the path of Mateo Kovacic, but the former Inter midfielder saw his strike rattle the crossbar.
Quite incredibly, Ronaldo missed a simple chance to secure his hattrick in stoppage time. The Portuguese found himself in an empty penalty area to meet Vazquez’s low cross, yet blazed well over.