UCL: Ronaldo’s super kick knocks down Juventus

UCL: Ronaldo's super kick knocks down Juventus
United Bank for Africa

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score in 10 successive Champions League games as he struck twice for holders Real Madrid in a 3-0 win at Juventus in Tuesday’s quarterfinal first leg.

Ronaldo grabbed the opening goal in Turin after just three minutes and added a second on the hour with a sensational overhead bicycle kick, taking him to 14 goals in this season’s competition.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala was sent off on 66 minutes before Ronaldo set up Marcelo to cap the rout and leave Real in complete control of the tie going into the second leg in Madrid on April 11.

The 33-year-old Portugal star had shared the previous record with former Manchester United teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored in nine consecutive matches between 2002 and 2003.

“We saw what Ronaldo is and always has been – a player of an extraordinary level who along with Leo Messi is achieving the greatest heights,” said Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

“This means they can be compared to Maradona and Pele for the way they ultimately are able to decide matches and trophies won by their teams.”

The defending champions are now poised to advance to the semifinals as they host Juventus – losing finalists twice in the past three seasons – in the second leg next week in Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane opted for the same line-up as last year’s final in Cardiff where the Spaniards crushed Juventus 4-1 to lift the European title for the 12th time, with Karim Benzema and Ronaldo backed by Isco who was preferred to Gareth Bale.

And some dreadful defending from Juventus early gave Isco the space on the left flank to set up Ronaldo nicely for the opener.

Buffon, 40, who has never won the Champions League title in his long and illustrious career, was left with no chance.

The goal stunned the home crowd with Sami Khedira and Dybala earning a corner and the Argentine looking as though he could break through, but he was quickly closed down by Sergio Ramos.

Mattia De Sciglio sent a shot flashing across goal on 34 minutes that just evaded the sliding Gonzalo Higuain, who was then denied by a stunning reflex stop from Keylor Navas after getting on the end of a Dybala free-kick.

Real looked set to score again when Toni Kroos latched onto a loose ball, his blistering long-range effort rattling the top of the crossbar.

The Spaniards will be without captain Sergio Ramos next week after the centre-back was booked for a foul on Dybala, whose resulting free-kick was deflected just wide.