Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus Fall to Atletico Madrid 2-0 in UCL Round of 16 Leg 1

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 20:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus headers the ball during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Juventus at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on February 20, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid took a big step towards the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, beating Juventus 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid in the first leg of their tie. Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin shut down Cristiano Ronaldo throughout the contest and bagged the goals in the second half.

Both team's defenders dominated proceedings, but the hosts were the better side and increased their attacking output after the break. Former Bianconeri Alvaro Morata had a goal ruled out by the video assistant before Gimenez and Godin scored just minutes apart.

The two teams will meet again in the return leg in Turin on March 12.


Ronaldo Trolls, but Atletico Defence Gets the Last Laugh

Ronaldo and his fellow attackers on both sides were kept relatively quiet on Wednesday in a defensive stalemate that lived up to the expectations most fans likely had.

The former Real Madrid man came into the tie with a sublime scoring record of 22 career goals against Atletico, per FOX Soccer.

The Rojiblancos did a phenomenal job shutting down the 34-year-old, doubling up on him throughout the contest. When he did find some space, Godin made a fantastic effort to catch up with him in the nick of time to deny a shooting opportunity.

The biggest highlight of Ronaldo's night was arguably his trolling of the home fans, reminding them of how many Champions Leagues he has won by raising five fingers (U.S. viewers only).

By the end of the night, Ronaldo's best sight of goal came from a set piece―his free-kick was kept out by Jan Oblak―and his best contribution was a great cross that Leonardo Bonucci should have converted.

There's little doubt Godin, Gimenez and company had the last laugh, and if VAR had been a little more helpful Atletico would have traveled to Turin with an even bigger lead.

As it stands they lead the tie by two and didn't concede an away goal, despite Federico Bernardeschi going close in the final minutes and Bonucci's header in the first half.

Diego Costa and Thomas Partey will be suspended for the return leg but the focus will once again be on the Atletico defence, which seems unlikely to concede twice against a Juventus side sorely lacking creativity.

Their defence also looks far more vulnerable than in recent years and isn't likely to keep a clean sheet in Turin.


What's Next?

Juventus visit Bologna on Sunday, while Atletico host Villarreal.