By Amaechi Agbo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the Champions League’s great goals as his incredible bicycle kick helped Real Madrid demolish Juventus in the quarter-final first leg.
The Real forward made history with the first of his two goals, prodding home Isco’s cross to become the first player to score in 10 consecutive Champions League games.
The Italian side had chances to equalise in a decent first half, although Toni Kroos went close to doubling Real’s lead when he hit the crossbar with a 25-yard effort.
Then came one of the great Champions League moments. Dani Carvajal lifted a cross to the Portuguese, who soared in the air and sent a flying acrobatic kick past Gianluigi Buffon, who had no chance.
Such was the brilliance of the strike that Juventus fans stood up to applaud the goal that probably ended their hopes of going through.
It got even worse for the Turin side, who lost last year’s final to Real, as Paulo Dybala was shown a second yellow card for a high boot in the chest of Carvajal.
And Marcelo effectively booked Real’s place in the last four when he played a one-two with Ronaldo before scoring from close range.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the Champions League’s all-time top scorer with 119 – 19 clear of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi
At the age of 33, Ronaldo no longer has the pace or much impact minute to minute in a match.
But, reinvented as an orthodox striker, he is in one of the greatest goalscoring streaks in football history – 19 goals in his last nine games for Real.
He has now scored 16 goals in his past 10 Champions League games – 14 goals this season and a double in last year’s final against Juventus.
It took him only two minutes and 47 seconds to open the scoring in Turin, when he poked home Isco’s low left-wing cross from six yards out.
He almost had a second when he smashed a ball across goal after good work from Karim Benzema.
His magic moment came in a move which he helped create himself. Giorgio Chiellini poked a ball past his own keeper Buffon, which Ronaldo kept in. He found Lucas Vazquez, whose shot was saved by Buffon. Unfortunately for Juventus the ball ran to Carvajal, whose cross was dramatically converted by Ronaldo.
The Portuguese, who only touched the ball 49 times in 90 minutes, had two chances for a hat-trick, first when he forced a save from Buffon from 16 yards and then when he shot over when totally unmarked 10 yards out from Vazquez’s cross.
He is not just a goalscorer though, and set up Marcelo’s goal – as well as laying the ball off to Mateo Kovacic, who hit the post.
Are Real now favourites for the trophy?
Despite domestic struggles, Real have almost an aura of invincibility in this competition. The European champions became the only team to successfully defend the Champions League when they beat Juve in Cardiff last season, the triumphs coming in Zinedine Zidane’s first two campaigns in charge.
They are struggling in La Liga, sitting 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, and Zidane might have been sacked by now if hopes of a third Champions League in a row had gone.
And against Juventus, a side who had only lost once in their past 75 home matches, they put on a clinical show.
Real scored three of their five shots on target, also hitting the crossbar twice, with Raphael Varane heading a good chance over.
The only downside was a Sergio Ramos booking for a foul on Dybala, which means the defender is suspended for the second leg.
But their place in the last four is as good as booked – only two teams in Champions League history have won the first leg away from home and gone out. And both of those were 1-0 first-leg scorelines.