Juventus exited the Champions League on Friday night with a whimper.
While there’s no denying that Lyon are one of the most underrated sides in Europe, it’s similarly undeniable that the Old Lady will have fancied their chances when the draw was first made.
Nevertheless, the Ligue 1 side proved to be a tricky proposition and entered the return leg at the Allianz Stadium with a 1-0 advantage courtesy of Lucas Tousart’s goal in February.
Needing another Ronaldo miracle
And despite almost half a year having passed since that game in France, the second leg looked to be more of the same for Lyon as they raced into an early lead with Memphis Depay’s penalty.
But anybody who’s watched a team containing Cristiano Ronaldo fight for their lives in the Champions League knows it’s never over until it’s over.
Besides, Ronaldo has famously scored hat-tricks against Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid in the last five years alone to eradicate the very 2-0 deficit that the Old Lady faced again on Friday.
Juventus 2-1 Lyon
On this occasion, however, there was to be no third goal for Ronaldo and Juve with their star man’s penalty and long-range effort merely doing enough to secure a 2-1 victory.
That, of course, meant that Maurizio Sarri’s men prematurely crashed out of the competition on the away-goal rule, while Lyon march ahead to face Manchester City in the quarter-finals.
However, things could have been far different for Juve if they had taken one of their early chances and it transpired in remarkable circumstances from Federico Bernardeschi.
Bernardeschi’s golden opportunity
That’s because the Italian winger embarked on a run that was mere inches away from becoming one of, if not the, Champions League goal of the season.
Bernardeschi showed impeccable footwork on the right wing to bypass three Lyon players, before creating an open goal for himself by astonishingly evading Lyon ‘keeper Anthony Lopes.
So, how could he possibly have missed from just a few yards out after doing that? Well, we’ll let the footage speak for itself on this occasion:
Is that the biggest miss in the history of the Champions League or one of the greatest tackles the competition has ever seen? We’re not entirely sure, but it’s certainly one of the two.
Either way, there’s no denying that Marcelo’s tackle was absolutely excellent and the real-time footage suggests that Bernardeschi only had the goal at his mercy for a fraction of a second.
Could Bernardeschi have saved Juve?
That being said, although slow-motion cameras can be deceiving, the replays make for painful watching for Bernardeschi with several frames suggesting the chance was basically unmissable.
You’d be forgiven for feeling as though Marcelo doesn’t come bombing in until the 11th hour and that Bernardeschi was preoccupied with physically dribbling the ball into the net.
But regardless of where you stand on the debate, such an instant reply from Juve would have taken the burden off Ronaldo for another miracle and perhaps saved their Europe season.
By way of missing, though, their dreams of a first Champions League title since 1996 are on ice for another year.
- Ronaldo breaks goal-scoring record vs Lyon
- Depay scores audacious penalty vs Juventus
- Players who’ve scored Champions League knockout hat-tricks