Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus: Atletico overcome VAR controversy to grasp commanding grip and deliver Juve fatal blow
(Getty Images - Pierre-Philippe Marcoli)

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Juventus: Atletico overcome VAR controversy to grasp commanding grip and deliver Juve fatal blow

The host's centre-backs came up with the goods as goals from José Giménez and Diego Godin gave Madrid an emphatic victory against Serie A champions Juventus.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr
Atlético de MadridOblak, Belin, Jimenez, Godin, Luis, Saul, Hernandez, Partey (Lemar 61), Koke (Correa 67), Griezmann, Costa (Morata 58)
juventus-fcSzczesney, De Sciglio, Bonnuci, Chiellini, Sandro, Bentancur, Pjanic (Can 73), Matuidi (Substituted forCavaco Cancelo 84), Dybala (Bernardeschi 80'), Mandzukic, Ronaldo
SCORE1-0, Min.78, Jimenez, 2-0, Min.83, Godin
INCIDENTSCHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST-16 FIRST LEG BETWEEN ATLETICO MADRID AND JUVENTUS AT THE WANDA METROPOLITANO STADIUM

A match that was labelled the battle of the continent's greatest tacticians was ultimately and literally settled by two centre-backs in a game where the best defenders in Europe reigned supreme. 

It wasn't what anyone expected, yet it was it was beyond satisfying seeing Atletico Madrid overcome their recent familiar hard-luck story to complete a convincing victory over one of the tournament favourites Juventus where the hosts at times played on another level.

José Giménez and Diego Godin ensured Madrid travel to Turin with the aces firmly in their hand following an utterly rampaging victory.

The three-time Champions League finalists had to cope with the setback of an Alvaro Morato disallowed goal courtesy of further VAR controversy as the Spaniard's emphatic header was dubiously ruled out.

However, this only added to the fury of Atletico's performance because it didn't see the hosts fade in the face of adversity but instead rise to reach new heights. 

The setback brought the best out of the tie's underdogs, as well as two goals. A familiar story of tragedy looked on the cards, one they've suffered too frequently in Europe and yet they rallied to achieve yet another masterclass victory under their phenomenal head-coach Diego Simeone.

It was a tie that was deemed worthy of a final, let alone a last-16 bout and yet Atletico displayed the resilience of potential champions whilst Juventus looked like they'd gone backwards even with one of the world's best Cristiano Ronaldo.

The five-time Champions League winner ended up have little to no impact on the match. Ronaldo's frustration boiled to fresh depths when he was seen goading the home supporters with a hand gesture representing his five triumphs in the competition to the club's zero.

The story of the game

Juve's recent impenetrable defence also surprisingly looked concerningly exposed and very suspect to mistakes. The two set-pieces personified their defensive vulnerability on a frustrating evening in the Spanish capital.

Despite Ronaldo's ineffectiveness, the five-time Balon d'Or winner did create the games first real moment of magic when he thundered a long-range free-kick that was equally matched by the instinctive reactions of Jan Oblak

Ronaldo became the subject of attention for large periods of the match with boos continuing to ring around the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium towards the man that has inflicted some of the club's most crushing moments including two Champions League final triumphs with their bitter rivals Real Madrid.

If Ronaldo was the man to set the tone of the opening exchanges for Juve then the same could be applied to Diego Costo for the hosts. It was a vintage display by the former Chelsea man. Inevitably the typical troublemaker received the first booking of the tie that rules him out of the second-leg but Costa relished the spotlight against one of Europe's elite.

He battled tirelessly with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci winning almost every header that was thrown towards him as he outmuscled and outfought two of the continents greatest defenders. 

Of course, it was the former Premier League winning forward who would muster the first real sense of controversy when his 'street-wise' attempts to force a penalty completely convinced referee Felix Zwayer to point to the spot only for VAR to intervene and correctly judge that Costa was indeed outside the box when he was fouled.

Antoine Griezmann stepped up and curled a left-footed free-kick that Wojciech Szczesny did well to beat away.

The game was hinging on big moments and one presented itself minutes into the second-half when Costa was slid in goalbound by his strike partner Griezmann but the Spaniard hesitated and jerked his shot agonisingly wide.

Again Juventus managed to contain the rampant hosts after Szczesny magnificently tipped Griezmann's lobbed effort onto the bar before Chiellini steamed through to clear away before the lurking Costa could react.

Godin - who has been heavily criticised for his below-par performances this season - was at his best on the biggest stage to sniff imminent danger with Ronaldo scorching at goal only for the Uruguayan to fairly clean the Portuguese forward out with the ball.

It became a surreal reality that Atletico had Juventus on the ropes and it became easier for the hosts to continually get at the visitors.

This was epitomised with the acres of space around the area which Madrid continued to exploit when Filipe Luis - another Chelsea outcast - crossed for Morata to score as the emotional Spaniard ran to his new supporters only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul on Chiellini.

It seemed soft and even potentially threatened Atletico's rhythm but Simeone's team refused to buckle.  

Instead, it was Juve who froze and the handbrake had finally come off. Atletico found their edge and guile and Morato wasn't fazed by his disallowed strike to rise highest and head down for Gimenez who stroked home before minutes later Godin diverted a strike off Ronaldo - how ironic.

Ronaldo has been pressured to rescue Champions League ties in the past and the global phenomenon must return to his usual fireman duties if he is to rescue this tie from the ominous Atletico who had too much for the depleted Juve on the night.

Takeaway's from the match

VAR controversy

Since the introduction in the knockout stages, VAR has seen it's fair share of drama and that continued tonight. First Costa's penalty was eventually brought back for a free-kick before Morata had a dream goal extinguished when he was deemed to have fouled Chiellini.

The Seria A champions were even screaming for VAR following Jimenez's strike but nothing could get in the way of a truly special night for the outstanding Madrid.

Defence shine in a tactical masterclass

Atletico's outstanding defence stole the headlines - quite literally as both the club's centre-backs Jimenez and Godin delivered the goals that put the hosts in a perfect position ahead of the second leg in Turin. 

Both defenders were impenetrable to keep a vital clean sheet as Atletico are on course to knock out one of the competition's favourites.

 

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