Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off in the first half as Juventus defeated Valencia 2-0 in their UEFA Champions League opener on a night which also witnessed a shock 1-2 loss for Manchester City at home to Olympic Lyon.
On his UCL debut for Juventus, the 33-year-old former Real Madrid top marksman was given his marching orders midway through the game after his tangle with defender, Jeison Murillo, in the box was deemed an off-the-ball incident worthy of a sending off by the assistant referee behind the goal.
The surprising decision was much to the chagrin of a crestfallen and teary Ronaldo who pleaded his innocence to no avail.
Juventus should have taken the lead earlier in the game but they missed glit-edged openings through Mario Madzukic and Sami Khedira.
Valencia dominated with Juventus down to 10 men but conceded against the run of play on the stroke of halftime. Miralem Pjanic converted from the spot following Daniel Parejo’s foul on Joao Cancelo who was trying to get on the rebound after hitting the bar, handing Juve a 1-0 lead at the break.
The midfield playmaker doubled the Italian champions’ lead early in the second half through another penalty conceded by Murillo who brought down Leonardo Bonucci. Valencia could not breach the well drilled Juventus defence which stood firm in the face of pressure, while goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, also made a few crucial saves.
In England, Manchester City suffered a shock 1-2 loss to Olympic Lyon at the Etihad Stadium, no thanks to sloppiness in midfield and a devastating counter-attacking display by the French side.
City, missing Pep Guardiola’s animated presence on the bench due to a touchline ban, went behind midway into the first half. Their midfield gifted Lyon the ball and the defence failed to clear Fekir’s cross which found Maxwel Cornet, and the midfielder finished into the far corner for a surprise 1-0 lead. Fekir made it two before halftime with a rasping shot from the edge of the area after picking up a loose ball in midfield.
City halved the deficit on 67 minutes through Bernardo Silva who finished off a Leroy Sane pass to hand the home team a lifeline. The visitors, however, held on despite the attacking onslaught from Man City who have now lost their last three home games in the Champions League.
In Spain, Real Madrid started the third defence of their UCL crown with a dominant 3-0 win over AS Roma of Italy. The 13-time champions created several openings early on and had to wait until the stroke of halftime to take the lead through Isco. The Spanish international curled in a superb free-kick from the edge of the box for a deserved halftime lead.
Gareth Bale, who took over from Ronaldo as the superstar of this Real Madrid team, doubled the lead on 58 minutes when he lashed a shot into the far corner after being found by Luka Madric’s tailor-made pass.
Returning striker, Mariano Diaz, scored the final goal of the night with a brilliant curling shot to seal a comfortable 3-0 win for Julien Lopetegui’s team at their Santiago Bernabeu.
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