UCL: Ronaldo endures torrid return as Atletico maul Juventus 2-0 in Madrid (PHOTOS)
A Uruguayan double from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin was enough to down Juve and Ronaldo, who was making his return to the Spanish capital following his $100 million summer move to Turin from Madrid giants Real, to face arch rivals Atletico at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium – the venue for this season's final.
After a goalless first half, on-loan striker Alvaro Morata, a former Ronaldo teammate at Santiago Bernabeu, had what seemed like a perfectly good header ruled out for a push in the buildup and, after some deliberation, a prospective opener was chalked off, just as a recent goal against Real Madrid had been for the Spaniard.
Nevertheless, Atletico did eventually take the lead; after a scramble in the goalmouth from a corner, the ball dropped to Gimenez, who was on hand to slot home on 78 minutes, prompting a choice celebration from manager Diego Simeone.
Ronaldo the king of Champions League— Mr Sam (@XammyOfficial) February 20, 2019
Atletico Madrid: Hold my beer pic.twitter.com/jMox7UseFu
Captain Godin poked into an empty net five minutes later when the ball broke free from a throng of players in the box after a free kick was floated in, to double the lead on 83 minutes. A replay showed his effort took a deflection off the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, much to his chagrin.
Atletico held on for the win, which could have been by a bigger margin. Diego Costa missed a golden one-on-one chance, and also could have had a penalty had the referee deemed a foul on the striker had happened inside the area, but instead judged the motion of the player had simply carried him into the penalty box, and instead gave a free kick.
The Twitterati were quick to poke fun at Ronaldo, who endured an unfamiliarly quiet game, with surprisingly few touches or chances.
Ronaldo showing Atletico fans his match rating of 5.5pic.twitter.com/ZCcQkvFv4t— Nãif ➰ (@NaifFCB_) February 20, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored just 1 goal in his past 9 Champions League games, after scoring 11 in his previous 8.— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) February 20, 2019
Just a blip or is age finally catching up with him? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/hNiybNveE7
In the day's other match, Manchester City came from behind away to Schalke to win 3-2 in Germany, despite defender Nicolas Otamendi being sent off in the 68th minute with the score at 2-1 to the home side.
Sergio Aguero opened the scoring for the English champions after just eight minutes played. That was then canceled out by a brace of penalties from Nabil Bentaleb, the first of those given by virtue of a VAR decision and led to Otamendi's first yellow card for handball.
It wasn't until the last five minutes of the game that City were able to mount a vital comeback. After Argentine defender Otamendi received his second booking for cynically bringing down Burgstaller, substitute Leroy Sane fired a rocket free kick into the net to level the scoring on 85 minutes.
In the last minute of the match, Raheem Sterling found himself through on goal, to slot home a winner and grab an invaluable third away goal to win the match in Gelsenkirchen and complete an heroic comeback to, perhaps, put the tie to bed in the first leg.