It would be a night to remember for Cristiano Ronaldo as he scored two penalties to help Juventus FC win over FC Barcelona in their final UEFA Champions League group stage match. The victory has taken Juventus to the top of Group G, and it also marks a personal win for Ronaldo, who faced long-time rival Lionel Messi on the pitch for the first time since leaving Real Madrid.
The two penalties bring Ronaldo's Champions League goal tally up to 134 as Juventus secures an advantage going into the last-16. The first spot kick came at the 13th minute after the Portuguese star was fouled by Barca defender Ronald Araujo.
Weston McKennie made a brilliant contribution for Juventus with a goal scored through a bicycle kick in the 20th minute to double the lead. Ronaldo buried Barcelona with his second penalty of the evening after Clement Lenglet made a hand ball.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman had no excuses and admitted that his side was lacking. According to BBC, he said, "It looked as if we'd come out looking not to lose, as opposed to trying to control the game. We weren't good, not even positionally. We looked scared."
The loss put a damper on Barcelona's unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League group stage. It also exacerbates a crisis that they are facing in the domestic league.
Regardless of the implications in the tournament, many fans watched the game to see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face each other again in active competition for the first time since May 2018.
Ronaldo clearly came out on top with two goals, despite the fact that he wasn't able to score from open play. Meanwhile, Messi did take seven shots on target, but Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon was having none of it.
Barca's French forward Antoine Griezmann wan unable to deliver either, only managing to hit the crossbar with his best attempt. Griezmann spoke out of frustration after the match. "Who else's fault could it be other than the players? We're the ones who go out there and play," he said.
Nevertheless, both Juventus and Barcelona have advanced to the last 16. Dynamo Kyiv will be heading to the Europa League while Ferencváros will be out of this season's European competitions.