Champions League: Brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo assist takes Juventus to last 16

first_imgJuventus advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday as Juventus notched up a solid 1-0 win over Valencia, courtesy a goal from Mario Mandzukic off Cristiano Ronaldo’s brilliant assist.It took Juventus 59 minutes of the match to break down Valencia’s defence but when they did, they did it in some fashion and Ronaldo was at the heart of it.Joao Cancelo slipped the ball towards Ronaldo on the left of the goal and then Ronaldo put up a show of himself. With some fancy footwork, Ronaldo wrong-footed Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista and then induced a little burst of pace in the opposite direction.By the time Paulista got his foot right and tried to chase Ronaldo back, the Portuguese superstar had passed the ball in the centre and Mandzukic was right there at sweet spot to slot the ball home.Juventus top the section with 12 points from five games while Valencia, third with five points, were eliminated after second-placed Manchester United beat Young Boys 1-0.”Valencia have the best defence in La Liga and it’s not easy to score against them,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.”We got caught on the break a couple of times, we need to be more lucid when we go looking for the second goal,” he said, repeating a criticism that he routinely levels against his team.Needing a draw to qualify, Juventus took few risks and the first half produced only one shot on target for each side.Ronaldo tested Neto with an early shot which the Brazilian dealt with easily while Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a brilliant save under the bar to keep out Mouctar Diakhaby’s header on the stroke of halftime.advertisementAlso read – Champions League: Manchester City, Real Madrid secure knockout berthsRonaldo, sent off in the first meeting between the teams in the group, tried again with a low free kick after the break but again Neto dealt with it comfortably.Diakhaby had the ball in the Juventus net two minutes after Mandzukic’s goal but the Frenchman had used his arm to deflect in a free kick and it was chalked off.Paulo Dybala had a shot turned over by Neto and Mandzukic was close again from another inspired Ronaldo assist, the Portuguese this time controlling the ball on his chest and hooking it back in one move, as Juve cruised home.”Our team is nine-tenths the same as last season but we have improved the speed of our passing and our execution, and Ronaldo gives us more self-confidence,” added Allegri.(With Reuters inputs)last_img

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