Juventus has been dismissed all season, its ninth successive league title being the result of a financial imbalance in Serie A rather than its own excellence. This was the counter-protest that was coming. Yet after losing the first leg more than five months ago there was a strange feeling that Juve did not believe it could go out. Said, Lyon took the lead in the 13th minute as Memphis Depe gave Penneca a penalty after Hoffus Deyer fouled by Rodrigo Bentonkur.
Juventus had a better game since then, but its threat was limited, before the ball was awarded a good penalty even after Depey was hit by the ball. Ronaldo converted to kick start what he hoped would be the second straight year in which Juve would pass after scoring three unanswered scores in the second leg.
At the hour mark, Ronaldo got a second one, and it came from anywhere. There was no sustained pressure. This was not the result of a spectacular move. Instead, he shot in the left corner from a position just outside the box.
It was a goal that epitomized modern football: the big team did not play particularly well, but was able to distance players from the game in this way. It could be argued as to why Juventus spent so much on Ronaldo, just that kind of moment on that goal.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to maintain the argument that the cost of team flow is worth it.
In a less dramatic way, Madrid faced a similar fate, beating City 2–1 and falling out 4–2 overall. But what was striking was the lackluster results of the way, as Madrid made a list of mistakes that, although unused to challenge at home, have lost the ability to face when teams stand up for it. Even by his standards, Citi worked hard and started high, but Madrid’s uneasiness was still unpredictable, a sense of numb disbelief that led directly to Rahm Sterling’s goal as Gabriel Jesus delivered his own box Removed Rafael Vern inside.
But City is also defensively insecure. It has struggled to rebound once again throughout the season, and in the absence of the suspended Benjamin Mendy it was João Cancillo who played the role. He was beaten very easily by Rodrigo, and although his cross was accurate, it was a bit baffling that Karim Benzema was denied it by any of the three City players around him.
This presented City with an intriguing dilemma, which exposed the boundaries (and of course pride) of Pep Guardiola’s philosophy. Because of this, Madrid faced a lot of trouble – Phil Foden was close to scoring before Thifut Curto stopped shortly after passing, but pressure is a risk. And with the distant goal rule, the city may not be ready to free one. This is why, perhaps, the ability to close the game can be valuable, but it is a way to get closer to the game in which Guardiola opposes ideologically.
But in the end, Madrid’s mistakes were too heavy. The idea was just beginning to be made that the City could pay for its failure to capture Madrid’s slowness when Vern misjudged a foul clearance, not getting enough power on his backward header, causing Jesus a lapse. It was allowed to score with the finish. Was the chaos the result of Sergio Ramos’ absence (his red card ruled him out for second in the first leg) or the unfamiliarity being stifled – or perhaps both bits of Madrid were exceptional for a team that effectively brought a win. Went behind his defensive record.
Man City and Lyon may have earned their right, but the deep impression was just how weak the champions of Italy and Spain looked in going out.