Cristiano Ronaldo produced one of the most memorable nights of his illustrious career this evening, scoring all three goals as Juventus overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 in Turin and move into the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Portugal captain, who urged the Juventus home crowd to "think positive" during the build-up to the game, opened the scoring in the 27th minute, added a second just minutes after the re-start and completed his treble from the penalty spot. Elsewhere, Bernardo Silva made it the perfect night for Portuguese with a goal in Manchester City's 7-0 win over Schalke.
For Ronaldo, it was a night on which he once again silenced his doubters, after a subdued performance in the away leg in Madrid. The veteran striker showed typical desire to beat the Atletico defence to Federico Bernadeschi's cross and power his header home ahead of the half hour mark to put the hosts ahead. Juve's lead was doubled when another Ronaldo header was awarded via goal-line technology three minutes into the second half.
The tie appeared to be drifting towards extra time, but Atletico substitute Angel Correa pushed Bernadeschi inside the area with just six minutes remaining. That set the stage for Ronaldo, who appeared to relish the occasion as he strode up and sent Jan Oblak the wrong way to send the home crowd into raptures.
"This is why Juve signed me"
“It had to be a special night and it was," Ronaldo said after the game. "This is the mentality you need in the Champions League. It had to be a special night and it was, not just for the goals, but for the team and their incredible attitude. This is the mentality you need in the Champions League and we are on the right track.
When told that Juventus had never been able to achieve such a comeback, Ronaldo was typically forthright. “This is why Juve signed me, to help on magic nights like this. Atleti are a really tough team to face, but we are strong too and proved we deserved to go through.
“It’s too early to talk about the Final, let’s take it one step at a time.”
Bernardo among the goals as City through
Manchester City join Juventus in the last eight after they dispatched German side Schalke 7-0 in the home leg to complete a 10-2 aggregate win. Bernardo Silva played the full 90 minutes for Pep Guardiola's side, for whom Sergio Aguero (2), Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus were also on the scoresheet.
Bernardo's goal was the 5th of the evening, with the Portugal man finishing beautifully with his left foot from a Sane cutback, with the ball hitting the inside of the post on the way into the back of the net. It was the 24-year-old's third goal of the competition this season, with Bernardo having netted twice during the group phase.
"These two games against Schalke were not as not as easy as people may think, but of course to win 7-0 is good for us," Bernardo said after the match, before defending VAR after heavy involvement from technology. "I think it's a good thing. It helps the referees to make fewer mistakes. Yes of course it cuts a little emotion from the game, but it helps the referees to take out mistakes and make the game cleaner."
Guardiola said after the first leg that he felt City were still not at the level required to win the Champions League, and Bernardo was asked if the team intend to prove their manager wrong. "Of course we will try to prove him wrong. We know it's a difficult competition against the best teams in Europe but we will try to prove him wrong. Stage by stage we will try to get past our opponents. We are a young team and hungry for titles."