Two of the best-known teams in global sports were sent packing Friday as the UEFA Champions League returned to action for the first time since March thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, with both Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus and Real Madrid — the club Ronaldo led to four European titles between 2014-18 before moving to Italy — being eliminated in the round of 16.
Juve was upset by French side Lyon, which lost 2-1 Friday in Turin but won the two-leg, total goals series on the away goal tiebreaker after a 1-0 triumph in the opener five months ago. Lyon will take on Manchester City, which defeated Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate with its own 2-1 win in England, in the quarterfinals in Portugal next week.
Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo (foreground) are out of the UEFA Champions League after losing on away goals to French side Lyon in the round of 16. (Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Lyon’s early goal dooms Juventus
Juve came into Friday’s match knowing that because of the away goals rule, allowing an early strike to Lyon would require three goals to advance. Yet concede Juventus did, with Lyon’s Memphis Depay converting from the penalty spot after Federico Bernardeschi fouled Houssem Aouar inside the area (via CBS Sports):
Depay would give the home side some hope just before halftime when he was whistled, rather cruelly it must be said, for a handball that sent Ronaldo to the spot for the second penalty of the match. The Portuguese superstar made no mistake from 12 yards, sending visiting backstop (and international teammate) Anthony Lopes diving the wrong way.
In the second half, Ronaldo pulled Juve within one goal of the quarterfinals with a brilliant individual strike:
That was as close as they would get, though, the fat lady singing on the Old Lady following a scoreless second half. Juventus’ run of futility in the Champions League will now tick past the quarter-century mark. Juve signed Ronaldo two summers ago in the hopes of hoisting the trophy for the first time since 1996. Instead, Ronaldo won’t participate in the quarters for the first time in a decade.
Man City rides Real Madrid’s early error into the quarterfinals
Like Juventus, Real Madrid didn’t do themselves any favors on Friday. Trailing 2-1 after dropping the round of 16 openers to City at the Bernabeu, Zinedine Zidane’s men paid the price for sloppily pinging the ball around inside their own penalty box. City’s Gabriel Jesus dispossessed Raphael Varane and fed Raheem Sterling to easily fire home past Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois less than 10 minutes in:
Madrid would get an away goal through Karim Benzema in the 28th minute, pulling the visitors back within one. But the early gaffe came back to haunt Real Madrid when Jesus capitalized on another error and restored Man City’s lead in the match:
While it’s a bitterly disappointing result for Real, the triumph is big for City, which is desperate to claim its first Champions League title in club history after winning the Premier League four times in the 2010s.
The single-elimination quarterfinals begin Wednesday in Lisbon, which is serving as a neutral site for the remainder of the 2019-20 tournament. Man City-Lyon is slated for Aug. 14. The final, originally scheduled to take place in Istanbul, will be played Aug. 23.