Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick fires Juventus into Champions League quarter-finals
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Cristiano Ronaldo struck a stunning hat trick to earn Juventus a 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid, single-handedly mounting a comeback which sent the Italians into the Champions League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
The ex-Real Madrid star put his former rivals to the sword once again, bagging two headers and a late penalty in a brutal turnaround in the last-16 second leg, after Juve lost 2-0 in Madrid.
Meanwhile, Manchester City thrashed Schalke 7-0 to progress 10-2 on aggregate.
In Turin, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini had a goal ruled out in the fourth minute after the officials decided, using VAR, that Ronaldo fouled Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Ronaldo, who terrorised Atletico for years while playing at Real Madrid, helping beat the Rojiblancos in two Champions League finals, was a constant headache for Diego Simeone’s men.
Atletico have never won the competition, and were desperately hoping to reach the final in their own Wanda Metropolitano stadium on June 1.
However, their Portuguese nemesis, who moved to Juventus in July for €112 million, came back to haunt Atletico once again.
Koke fired over for the visitors on a rare breakaway as Juventus piled on pressure, with Leonardo Spinazzola probing down the left.
Ronaldo headed Juventus ahead from Federico Bernardeschi’s brilliant cross, stoking up the rowdy Juventus Stadium further still as the Italians smelled a comeback.
Oblak produced a fantastic reflex save to keep out a Chiellini header before the interval, while Alvaro Morata nodded over at the other end against his former side.
Three minutes after the break Ronaldo pounced again, beating Oblak with another header, which narrowly crossed the line.
Morata shoved Chiellini as tensions rose, with the game heading towards extra time.
Juventus substitute Moise Kean should have completed their comeback, but fired inches wide when through on goal.
However, referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot after Angel Correa brought down Bernadeschi, and Ronaldo finished the job with four minutes remaining.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 12, 2019
In Manchester, striker Sergio Aguero struck a brace in four minutes to take the game away from Schalke in the first half, with Leroy Sane slotting in a third just before the break.
Sane had a goal disallowed for offside, but teed up Raheem Sterling for the fourth and then Bernardo Silva a few minutes later.
Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus added further goals to embarrass the Bundesliga side.
The Champions League quarter-final draw takes place on Friday.