Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus Stunned by Lyon 1-0 in UCL Last 16 Leg 1

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2020

Lyon's French midfielder Lucas Tousart (C) celebrates after scoring a goal  during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg football match between Lyon and Juventus at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Decines-Charpieu, central-eastern France, on February 26, 2020. (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIPPE DESMAZES/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus were left stunned after Lyon produced a 1-0 win in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last 16 on Wednesday night.

A 31st-minute goal from Lucas Tousart, who helped render Ronaldo virtually anonymous at the Groupama Stadium, proved enough for the side seventh in Ligue 1 to earn a valuable aggregate lead ahead of the return fixture in Turin on Tuesday, March 17.

Lyon boss Rudi Garcia is usually defined by letting his teams off the leash to pursue goals in maverick fashion, but the 56-year-old tweaked things to try and keep Juve's danger men in check.

Garcia deployed a double midfield pivot in front of the Lyon defence, with Tousart and January import Bruno Guimaraes shielding the back line brilliantly. Former Athletico Paranaense enforcer Guimaraes caught the eye early and often:

There was ample skill to go with the silk, thanks to the pace of Karl Toko Ekambi and Moussa Dembele, as well as the technique of Houssem Aouar. The latter was given a platform to play by the dual destroyers behind him, and he duly proceeded to boss a midfield populated by under-performing stars such as Miralem Pjanic and Adrien Rabiot.

It was Aouar's quick feet and vision that proved the catalyst for Tousart's goal, with the scorer rewarded for making a rare foray forward:

Juve struggled to muster a response, with neither Rabiot nor Pjanic able to give Ronaldo the supply he needed. Maurizio Sarri finally reacted by hooking Pjanic for former Arsenal playmaker Aaron Ramsey on 62 minutes.

Ramsey soon began getting involved in the final third, producing a testing shot from the edge of the area after being played in by Paulo Dybala. Rodrigo Bentancur was the next to break from midfield, ending his run by teeing up Alex Sandro, but the left-back's attempt was blocked by last-ditch defending.

Sandro was involved again when Dybala went close, with the latter dragging his shot inches wide after a fine cross from the defender. The miss prompted more reshuffling from Sarri, who introduced Gonzalo Higuain at the expense of Juan Cuadrado for the final 20 minutes.

Ramsey got Ronald involved for a rare sighter in the 84th minute, but the 35-year-old, who had been starved of service, couldn't find his range.

Juve had been made to look ordinary with Ronaldo kept under wraps. The decorated veteran's supporting cast isn't doing enough to pick up the slack, leaving this team a long way removed from being potential Champions League winners.

   

What's Next?

Juve host third-place Inter Milan on Sunday in a crucial match in the Serie A title race. Meanwhile, Lyon will be in Ligue 1 action on the same day against Saint-Etienne at home.

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