Juventus beat Lyon 2-1 at home, to draw 2-2 on aggregate, but it was not enough to save themselves from UEFA Champions League elimination. Despite Ronaldo braces, Lyon made it to the quarter-final with a better away record.
The result would be heart-breaking for Juventus fans, as they brought Cristiano Ronaldo and Maurizio Sarri to win the European title. The belief goes like this – they would be served with the scudetto, but Juventus were hoping to challenge for Champions League trophy.
Juventus started with Paulo Dybala on bench and Higuain started instead. The Juventus star was suffering from a thigh problem. He was introduced at 71st minute to replace Federico Bernardeschi, but could not continue more than 12 minutes. He has to be replaced by 21-year-old Marco Olivieri, who made three Serie A appearances previously.
This was a big game for Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored two goals and could add to his tally of 67 champions league knock-out goals, which is more than total goals scored by many European giants. He tried pressing Lyon defence from the very beginning, but Lyon trapped him for offside thrice within the first 15 minutes.
CR7 levelled from a penalty kick, but he compensated that with the second goal at 60th minute. Ronaldo fired it from 20 yards after receiving the ball from Bernardeschi. Anthony Lopes could not save Lyon this time, as the ball deflected to goal after hitting his hand.
Goals and Controversial Penalties
During the half-time break, the match was levelled at 1-1. Memphis Depay scored a goal from a penalty at the twelfth minute of the match and conceded a penalty within half an hour when he stopped a Pjanic free-kick with the hand inside the penalty area. Lyon argued that his hand was close to his body. Ronaldo levelled Juventus from the spot-kick.
But it was the first penalty, that shaped the fate of the match, even Cristiano Ronaldo could not alter the course. Rodrigo Bentancur tripped Aouar in follow-through while clearing a ball inside the penalty area. He certainly hit the ball first, but VAR withheld referee’s penalty decision. The decision would be more frustrating for Juventus fans as Juventus players claimed that Lyon started the move, as Higuain was tripped Juventus midfield area.
Most surprising of all was Bentancur avoided a yellow during the incident, else he could have been shown red-card when he was officially booked at 44th minute.
With the goal from a penalty conceded at 12th minute, Juventus had to score three goals to qualify for the quarter-final.
Juventus – Path Ahead
Juventus president Agnelli, star player Cristiano Ronaldo and manager Maurizio Sarri would not be happy and would have different reactions which will be evident in the coming days. President Agnelli expressed his reflection on Juventus performance this year after the match.
Now we will take a few days, we will make some overall assessments, in order to start the next season again with a renewed enthusiasm, all without taking for granted what happens in Italy: the championships are not won by inertia, they all have a different story and every year we all start with zero points.Agnelli, President Juventus