• Poor Ronaldo as Juventus lose on away goal to Olympique Lyon

Ronaldo bids bye to 2020 Champions League action

Obviously, they are ready for the throne. Manchester City no longer have anything to fear after toppling kings of Europe, Real Madrid and dumping them out of this year’s UEFA Champions League competition.

The Pep Guardiola’s tutored City secured a place in the Champions League quarter-finals after beating the Spanish giants both home and away

And having dethroned “Kings of the competition”, Guardiola’s City can now hope to claim the coveted European Clubs’ crown for themselves.

But in Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo caught a pathetic figure as his record-breaking performance could not help propel Juventus into the Champions League quarter-finals round, losing on away goal rule after a 2-all draw with Lyon

For Pep, beating Real Madrid was the big win and the big performance in Europe that he has craved since taking over at the Etihad Stadium four years ago. Now, the English club can have no nerves about taking on the rest of Europe.

On the night, City were quicker, sharper, more intelligent and more threatening than a Madrid team that had incredibly never tasted elimination in the Champions League before in Zinedine Zidane’s four campaigns as a manager.

But Guardiola’s men were also nervier and more wasteful as they faced the threat that another European challenge could end prematurely.

City and their coach have had five months to think about nothing else but the Champions League with their Premier League title challenge conceded long before football was shut down by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Leading 2-1 from their first-leg victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, a place in the quarter-finals looked a formality had the second leg been played in March as scheduled.

But that win was 162 days ago and a lot has happened in the meantime — not least Zidane rebuilding his side’s confidence and securing a first La Liga title in three years.

Guardiola, though, was brave as ever. Even with a slender lead he took the game to their opponents. He has been often been accused of over-thinking big matches and he again went for an unorthodox line-up but he overran Madrid’s ageing midfield and hassled their nervous backline all night.

Academy youngster, Phil Foden started the biggest game of his career as a false nine, striker Gabriel Jesus played as a left winger, where he had troubled Madrid throughout in the Spanish capital and, with Benjamin Mendy suspended, Guardiola moved Joao Cancelo to left-back.

It worked perfectly in the opening exchanges with Madrid, missing the influence of their banned captain Sergio Ramos, looking tentative playing out from the back with the pressure of City’s hard-working front three.

Jesus hassled Raphael Varane into a clumsy mistake and rolled the ball into Raheem Sterling to tap home for the perfect start.

It should have settled nerves but missed chances only seem to ramp up the pressure on the home side.

Guardiola, himself, patrolled his technical box like a caged tiger, as Foden and Sterling missed chances to press home their advantage.

And when Cancelo’s weak challenge allowed Rodrygo to fire in a 28th cross that Karim Benzema headed home emphatically, it was game on.

Question marks over the rigidity of their own backline have persisted all season, and with Fernandinho recalled after the bombshell Eric Garcia announcement that he wants to leave on the eve of the game, they could have easily buckled.

But still, City pushed forward and dominated possession. Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan missed chances until Jesus forced Varane into another clumsy mistake and when he squeezed in a second, there was no coming back.

By the final whistle, City were pulling the visitors all over the pitch with Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri strangling the midfield.

It’s the confidence boost that they’ve so badly needed and Guardiola may never have had a better chance to win the trophy during his time at the club. After the game, he seemed to understand the significance of the result.

“Of course it’s important,” Guradiola said. “For Real Madrid and Barcelona to be in the last-16 is normal, you have to beat them to win the Champions League. Barca, Bayern, of course it’s important for this and the future.

“We beat Barcelona here and it’s quite similar. We’ve only done the last decade, not just for the players for the club, for the workers, for our fans.”

Next stop is the mini-tournament in Lisbon and City have shown they are more than capable of winning single knockout games, having won four of the last six domestic cup competitions on offer.

Lyon are next and having knocked out Italian champions Juventus, Guardiola will be taking nothing for granted.

But after beating the record holders, City can now take on the best in Europe without any fear.

However for Cristiano Ronaldo, it is another season of unfulfilled dream as Juventus failed to progress beyond the last 16 stage if this year’s competition.

The Portuguese superstar’s consolation on the night was in breaking all-time Juventus scoring record with his double strike against Lyon

With 37 goals in all competitions the Portuguese superstar has broken a mark set in Turin more than 80 years ago

Ronaldo broke the Old Lady’s record for most goals in a single season on Friday with his double against Lyon in the Champions League.

The Bianconeri went into the clash needing a positive result to advance to the quarter-finals, having gone down 1-0 in the last-16 opener all the way back in February.

Though Ronaldo scored a pair of goals to reach 37 on the season, Juventus crashed out of the Champions League after defeating Lyon 2-1 on the night and falling on away goals in a 2-2 aggregate result.- Goal.com


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