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3 things we learned as Cristiano Ronaldo dominated Juventus

It was the Ronaldo show at the Allianz Stadium.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace for Real Madrid, including an absolutely ridiculous bicycle kick goal in the second half, and the Spanish giants ran out 3-0 winners over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in Turin to take complete control of their Champions League quarterfinal tie.

Ronaldo scored his first just three minutes into the match thanks to a complete breakdown by Juventus’ defense, who double-marked Karim Benzema despite him moving away from goal while Ronaldo darted up to get on the end of a fantastic pass from Isco. Madrid threatened to score a second with the wind temporarily taken out of Juventus’ sails, but the Italians eventually stabilized themselves and actually controlled the match from about the 15 minute mark until just after halftime.

But as the match approached the hour mark, Madrid started to assert themselves once more. Not satisfied with just a single away goal, they started hunting for a second, steadily applying more and more pressure on Juventus’ defense until a miscue between Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini helped set up Ronaldo to do this:

That goal completely broke the game apart, and looked as though it broke Juventus’ spirit a bit. It was only moments later that Paulo Dybala committed an absolutely mindless foul to earn his second yellow card of the match — the first coming in the first half when he dove in the penalty area — and put his team down a man in addition to the confidence-breaking two away goal deficit they already were under. Marcelo’s tap-in of a messy sequence in the box less than 10 minutes later gave Real Madrid a 3-0 advantage, and likely put away the tie as well.

Now Juventus have to go to the Santiago Bernabeu to not just face a white-hot Real Madrid side in front of a white-hot Real Madrid home crowd, they have to somehow score at least three goals without conceding on the road just to catch up in the tie. Juventus haven’t scored three goals on the road in any match since December, and that came against relegation-bound Hellas Verona. You have to go back to 2016 for the last time they scored three goals on the road in the Champions League, so the odds seem to be very, very stacked against Juventus.

Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon; Mattia De Sciglio, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini, Kwadwo Asamoah (Mario Mandzukic 69’); Douglas Costa (Blaise Matuidi 69’), Rodrigo Betancur, Sami Khedira (Juan Cuadrado 75’), Alex Sandro; Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala (red 65’)

Goals: None

Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco (Marco Asensio 75’); Karim Benzema (Lucas Vazquez 59’), Cristiano Ronaldo

Goals: Ronaldo (3’, 64’), Marcelo (72’)

Three things we saw

What on Earth was Juventus’ defense doing early in the match?

From the moment Juventus’ lineup was announced, it was clear that their intent was to try to slow down Real Madrid’s high-powered attack. Max Allegri made a clear and conscious decision to sacrifice some of his team’s attacking thrust — which was already dinged with the suspension of Miralem Pjanic and Federico Bernardeschi hurt — in order to keep Real Madrid from scoring away goals.

It didn’t work, and because of some boneheaded play by Juventus’ defense it didn’t work in a big hurry.

That’s because despite a decent initial gameplan, Juventus’ early execution of it was woefully poor. For some reason, in the opening minutes Andrea Barzagli and Mattia De Sciglio were double-marking Karim Benzema, with the rest of Juventus’ defense leaving another Madrid attacker all by his lonesome. That attacker was Cristiano Ronaldo. Who has scored 34 goals in 31 matches between the Champions League and La Liga this season. Who had scored in nine straight Champions League matches. Who scored in the third minute because of that complete lack of marking.

Great decision-making, Juve. Really, really great.

Juventus still finished the first half well, but failed to take advantage of that

It has to be said that Juventus responded well to going down, though, with several key players stepping up defensively — notably including Sami Khedira, who has been underwhelming for much of this season — and with the Italians slowly and eventually managing to establish themselves in the match. Paulo Dybala was vital in getting their attack rolling, and as the game went on more players started getting involved as well, including a surprisingly strong supporting performance from Alex Sandro on the left side of the Italians’ midfield.

But because of how quiet Douglas Costa was on the right, and the abject failure of Rodrigo Betancur to give Juventus any attacking element from central midfield — that Pjanic suspension really hurt them here — Juve couldn’t do anything to take advantage of

Cristiano Ronaldo is absolutely ridiculous

There’s not much to say here. Just look at this goal again, over and over.

Oh yeah, and since that was Real Madrid’s second away goal, there’s a very real chance that strike won the tie. Not bad at all.