Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick keeps Juve's Champions League dream alive with stunning win over Atletico Madrid

© MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo eyes the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match Juventus vs Atletico Madrid on March 12, 2019 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images) Cristiano Ronaldo was under no illusions when he signed for Juventus last July. One of the greatest players of his generation, a five-time Champions League winner, the competition's all-time record goalscorer, Ronaldo's brief was clear: Bring the European crown back to Turin. On Tuesday night, he accepted the challenge in a way only he could, dragging his side back from the brink and firing it into the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Trailing 2-0 from the the first leg in Madrid, Ronaldo led his side to victory by scoring all three goals in a 3-0 win against Atletico in Turin, including a dramatic 86th minute penalty. It was the first time Juventus had come back from a two-goal defeat in the first leg, prompting Ronaldo to tell Sky Italia: "Maybe that's why Juventus signed me. To help it do things that it had never done before. This result is a great push for the future, we're strong and we showed it." © FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann failed to make an impact this time around. Atletico must be sick of the sight of Ronaldo pushing for the future -- he's now scored a remarkable 25 goals in 33 games against the Spanish side. His winning strike -- his eighth Champions League hat-trick -- sparked wild celebrations inside Juventus Stadium and must have made those in the higher echelons at Real Madrid ponder whether they should have ever let him leave. Juventus won't care though. Not since 1996 has it won the Champions League and after defeats in the 2015 and 2017 finals, Ronaldo was brought in for one purpose and one purpose only -- to win the title. His $117 million move from Real Madrid was never about ensuring an eighth successive domestic league title for Juventus, nor was it about selling shirts or bolstering the brand. For Juventus, it was for nights like Tuesday where one of football's truly global superstars provided yet another reminder, why at the age of 34, he's not done yet. © MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after opening the scoring. And yet, Ronaldo, the competition's leading scorer with 121 in 159 games going into this contest, had struggled in this season's Champions League. Ahead of the second leg in Turin, Ronaldo had managed just one goal in his six Champions League games this season, his lowest tally in a single campaign since 2005/06 where he failed to score at all. According to Who Scored, of the 69 players to have had 10 or more shots, Ronaldo had the worst conversion rate (2.9%) than any other player in the Champions League this season. And yet, when Juventus needed its talisman the most, the man who always seems to thrive on the biggest stages of all, Ronaldo delivered. © PAUL ELLIS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Sergio Aguero scored twice in City's 7-0 thrashing of Schalke. Juventus, so insipid in the first leg three weeks ago, dominated the opening stages and felt it should have gone ahead after just four minutes when Ronaldo challenged Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak, and the ball fell to Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini to fire home. © FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images Juventus players celebrate after defeating Atletico Madrid in Turin. As Juventus players rushed to celebrate, referee Bjorn Kuipers ruled out the goal for a foul by Ronaldo. Unperturbed, the home side pressed on and eventually found a way through when Ronaldo powered home a header from close-range after meeting Federico Bernardeschi's cross. Four minutes after the interval it was 2-0, this time Ronaldo meeting Joao Cancelo's cross from the right to head the ball inches over the goalline. Familiar foe When Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus last July there were few in the red and white half of the city who were sorry to see him go. For Atletico, Ronaldo had been a thorn in its side throughout his nine-year stay in the Spanish capital. Only Sevilla (27) and Getafe (23) had conceded more goals to Ronaldo than Atletico during the player's time at Real. Not forgetting, of course, the two Champions League final defeats by Ronaldo-inspired Real, both in 2014 and again in 2016. But for Atletico, this was supposed to be different. It had won the first leg 2-0, and Ronaldo had failed to make an impact upon his return to Madrid. READ: Zidane makes shock Real return READ: How Euro-kings Real lost crown Yet, where Atletico was tigerish and insatiable in the first leg, here it was outfought, outplayed and rarely looked like being able to preserve its first leg advantage. "We weren't able to find ways to attack them," Atletico captain Diego Godin told reporters. "They were able to score and we couldn't score the goal that we needed to qualify. We will continue giving it our all until the end of the season." Atletico, known for having one of the most miserly defenses in European football, simply could not cope with the movement and intricacy of its opponents. At 2-0, 2-2 on aggregate, Juventus smelled blood. Just minutes after Moise Kean had fired a warning shot, arrowing his effort just wide of the Atletico goal, the Italian side landed the knockout blow. Bernardeschi, a constant menace in the Juventus midfield, danced his way into the penalty area where he was fouled by Angel Correa. That left the stage set for Ronaldo, who fired home from the spot to send Juventus into the last eight and inflict yet more misery on Atletico. "It was always going to be a special night and it was, not only for the goals, but for the team," Ronaldo added. "This is the mentality of champions, this is the journey to follow, we enjoyed a magical night. Atletico were a difficult team, but we were strong too. We will see what will happen." City strolls past Schalke In the night's other game, Manchester City cruised to a 7-0 victory over German side Schalke to secure a 10-2 aggregate victory. Sergio Aguero scored twice with Leon Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus also on target. "It was a clear result," Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola told BT Sport. "We are happy to get to the quarterfinals. We didn't start that well, we were a bit scared to play. But after it went 1-0, we relaxed and decided to play and be aggressive."

Poignant win for Klassical Dream's owner at Cheltenham 

AP Published 2:16 p.m. ET March 12, 2019 CHELTENHAM, England (AP) — Racehorse owner John Coleman never got to see one of his best runners, Klassical Dream, compete at the Cheltenham Festival. Eight months after dying from cancer, he was still there on Tuesday as the horse won the opening race of the 2019 meeting. Coleman's ashes were in the handbag of his wife, Jo, who was at Cheltenham for Klassical Dream's victory in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle under jockey Ruby Walsh. "I've bought some of John's ashes with me because he said he wanted to be here, but he knew his time was limited," Jo Coleman said. "I wanted to make sure he got here." It made it a "poignant" victory for Klassical Dream's trainer, Willie Mullins. "John had a lot of cheaper horses with us and then he retired and sold his business and said, 'Here is a few quid, go and buy me a Cheltenham horse.' And this was the horse," Mullins said. "He passed away in the last few months. We're here now so we're going to have a lot of tears and beers celebrating this." Mullins made it a double to start the festival when Duc Des Genievres won the Arkle Novices' Chase, the second race on Tuesday. The marquee race of the first day — the Champion Hurdle — was won by 16-1 shot Espoir D'Allen after two-time winner Buveur D'Air fell at the third. Apple's Jade, the 7-4 favorite, stumbled at a early hurdle and finished in sixth place. Thank you! You're almost signed up for Sports Keep an eye out for an email to confirm your newsletter registration. The second day of the festival is under threat because of strong winds forecast for Wednesday. There will be a morning inspection and if racing is canceled, Wednesday's card will take place on Saturday. ___ More AP sports: and Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

U46 school board candidate forum set for Thursday at DREAM Academy 

Candidates running for the District U46 School Board will participate in a forum Thursday to discuss their campaign platforms and provide their positions on district issues. The public event will be held at 7 p.m. at the DREAM Academy auditorium, 355 E. Chicago St., Elgin. It’s sponsored by the district’s Citizens’ Advisory Council. Attendees should enter through the building’s main doors and will be directed to the second-floor auditorium, a U46 news release said. Eight candidates are running for four board seats in the April 2 election. The incumbents are John Devereux, of Bartlett; Sue Kerr, of Bartlett; and Jeanette Ward, of West Chicago. The five challengers are Daniel Hancock, of Hanover Park; Eva Porter, of Hanover Park; Tina Rio, of Bartlett; Ina Silva-Sobolewski, of Hanover Park; and Kathleen Thommes, of Elgin. A Spanish interpreter will be available if needed, the release said. Twitter @rafaguerrero14

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