Atletico stun Juventus | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 22, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 22, 2019

UEFA Champions League

Atletico stun Juventus

Man City survive Schalke scare

Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League mission with Juventus stalled on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid secured a deserved 2-0 victory from a thrilling first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Ronaldo returned to the Spanish capital, where he enjoyed unprecedented success in this tournament with Real, but it was their rivals celebrating at the final whistle as goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin put Atletico within sight of the quarter-finals.

"We are not through yet," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "There is another match to play and we know we will have to suffer."

"Fortunately we didn't concede a third," said Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. "Because 2-0 is a result that can be turned around. We're not dead yet."

But this was a victory that Simeone's side fully deserved. Antoine Griezmann had hit the crossbar while VAR twice intervened, correctly, in Juve's favour, cancelling a penalty for a foul on Diego Costa and then ruling out an Alvaro Morata header just before Gimenez struck.

While Juventus tried to preserve the stalemate, Atletico were bold. Simeone introduced Morata, Thomas Lemar and Angel Correa, all around the hour-mark, and his daring paid off. "I showed balls," Simeone said.

Juve are certainly not dead and buried, particularly given Costa and Thomas Partey will both be suspended for the return in Turin after each picked up yellow cards.

But the failure to score an away goal, and their clear inferiority in the second half does not bode well for any hopes of a comeback.

"They don't give you chances," said Allegri. "They make you play badly."

Defeat in the last 16 for either team would be unthinkable, for Atletico, who know the final will be played here, at their own stadium, on June 1, the perfect chance to wrestle the trophy off Real in the very city they share.

Meanwhile Pep Guardiola says Manchester City will not challenge for this season's Champions League title unless they learn from their dramatic 3-2 win at Schalke with 10 men on Wednesday.

"We will not go far in this competition unless we improve," said City manager Guardiola.

"At the end, the quality of (Leroy) Sane and (Raheem) Sterling made the difference.

"The result is incredibly good, but we gave the first two penalties away and the red card, so we are not ready to fight for the Champions League."

City were in real trouble at 2-1 down with 22 minutes left when Nicolas Otamendi was sent off before goals by Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in the last five minutes swung the last 16 tie back in their favour.

Schalke led at the break as the video assistant referee (VAR) twice intervened to award penalties, both converted by Nabil Bentaleb, cancelling out Sergio Aguero's opener in Gelsenkirchen.

Sane, who came on for the last 12 minutes, drilled home a stunning free-kick to equalise and was delighted to score against his old club having joined City from Schalke in 2016.

"I wanted to shoot from that position as I have already scored from there and the goal gave us confidence, which set us up to win," said the Germany international.

"We did not get start well, but I'm glad we won and getting three goals away is good."

City still have some work to do in the return leg on March 12 with Fernandinho, who was booked when conceding the second spot-kick, and Otamendi both suspended.

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