Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus Beat Atletico Madrid to Take UCL Group D Top Spot

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 26: Paulo Dybala of Juventus celebrates after scoring his team's first goal wit¡h his teammates during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Atletico Madrid at Allianz Stadium on November 26, 2019 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Juventus guaranteed themselves top spot in Group D of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

The Serie A giants had already booked their spot in the knockout rounds, but Paulo Dybala's stunning first-half free-kick for the hosts ensured they will advance as pool winners.

Atletico, meanwhile, could now need to get a result against Lokomotiv Moscow in their final group game on December 11 at home in order to proceed to the last 16 in Europe's elite competition.

After missing Saturday's 3-1 Serie A win at Atalanta through injury, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Juve's starting XI for Tuesday's clash:

The Portuguese star almost had a tap-in early on, but Jan Oblak managed to hold on to Dybala's fine left-footed effort with Ronaldo lurking.

Soon after, Saul Niguez had two chances in quick succession—a free header and a well-hit strike that Wojciech Szczesny saved—but the game was still goalless after half an hour.

Given the profile of both sides, there was a disappointing lack of quality in the opening 45 minutes, but Dybala made up for it in first-half stoppage time.

Mario Hermoso fouled Rodrigo Bentancur near the end line on the right edge of the box.

There seemed to be little direct danger from the free-kick, but Dybala's fearsome left-footed shot whipped across the face of goal and nestled in the corner:

Oblak had little chance in Atleti's goal due to the sheer pace of the shot.

The Spanish side came out for the second half with increased application, and they hassled the hosts into numerous mistakes early on.

Aside from another long-range Saul effort, though, Atleti had nothing to show for it come the hour mark.

Ronaldo and substitute Joao Felix wasted decent chances at either end in quick succession before Federico Bernardeschi hit the post with 23 minutes remaining after an enterprising run.

Aside from a brilliant Matthijs de Ligt tackle to deny Angel Correa the chance of an equaliser late on, the fixture in Turin petered out somewhat in the closing stages, leaving Atletico with some work to do in order to take their place in the last 16. 

                                                    

What's Next?

Atletico have a huge game in La Liga on Sunday when they host leaders Barcelona. Earlier in the day, Juve face Sassuolo at home in Serie A. 

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