Ronaldo tops Messi with 2 goals in Juve's 3-0 win at Barca

AP , Wednesday 9 Dec 2020

Messi and Ronaldo
FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (Reuters)

Cristiano Ronaldo got the better of Lionel Messi by scoring two penalties to lead Juventus to a 3-0 win at Barcelona on Tuesday, dealing the Spanish side its first home defeat in the Champions League in seven years.

With both teams already through, Ronaldo converted spot kicks for Juventus' 13th-minute opener and a third goal early in the second half after U.S. midfielder Weston McKennie had doubled the advantage in the 20th.

Messi and Ronaldo briefly embraced with one arm behind each other's back and exchanged a few words before kickoff at a Camp Nou that remains empty because of coronavirus restrictions.

But only Ronaldo enjoyed the revival of their longstanding rivalry that enthralled fans for almost a decade when he played at Real Madrid before leaving for Italy in 2018. Twice Ronaldo celebrated with his trademark leap, twist, and thrust of both arms downward as he roared out his goals.

While Ronaldo benefited from errors by Barcelona's defense, Messi was left to carry the workload for the frustrated hosts. The Argentina star was unable to beat Gianluigi Buffon on his five shots on target.

Juventus clinched first place in Group G on a better head-to-head record in the group with the two sides finishing level on 15 points. Both teams had already comfortably qualified for the next stage prior to the match.

Ronaldo was unable to play in Barcelona's 2-0 win in Turin in October after the Portugal forward had tested positive for COVID-19.

Barcelona's record of 38 home games without a loss in Europe's top-tier tournament began in September 2013.

Including matches with Ronaldo at Manchester United and two friendlies between Argentina and Portugal, Messi and Ronaldo have now faced off 36 times. Messi has won 16 times and Ronaldo 11 with nine encounters ending in draw. Messi has scored 22 goals and Ronaldo 21 in their head-to-head matchups.

Ronaldo struck first from the penalty spot following a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with defender Ronald Araujo in the area. He coolly drilled his kick down the center while Marc-Andre ter Stegen dived to his left.

Juventus' pressure gave it control of the early phase, and a second goal came when Barcelona's two central defenders completely lost concentration in the heart of the box.

McKennie played the ball wide to Juan Cuadrado, floated unbothered to the penalty spot and the American was unmarked by either Araujo or Clement Lenglet to volley home a cross from Cuadrado.

Messi tried to rally Barcelona, but another defensive blunder sent Ronaldo back to the spot in the 52nd after a video review alerted the referee that Lenglet had used his hand to swat a ball in the box.

"We committed mistakes that just can't happen,'' Ter Stegen said about his team's defense, which was missing injured leader Gerard Pique.

"There are two things, the individual mistakes and the way we are defending. When we let our focus slip, we concede goals. We have to be stronger, do our homework and continue to work hard.''

Messi exchanged his shirt with Buffon after the final whistle. Ronaldo had already been substituted in the final minutes and congratulated by Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: