A stunning overhead strike from Mario Mandzukic went in vain as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace to help Real Madrid to a 4-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Casemiro’s strike from range was sandwiched between Ronaldo’s brace while Marco Asensio added a fourth in the final minute of regulation time.
In a match that had everything from spectacular goals to a controversial sending off when Sergio Ramos hit the deck to earn Juan Cuadrado a second booking, we analyse the displays of two key men in Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic.
Goals – 2
Shots – 6
Shots on target – 2
Touches – 57
Passes – 18
Key passes – 0
Dribbles – 0
Dispossessed – 3
Goals – 1
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 1
Touches – 52
Passes – 26
Key passes – 2
Dribbles – 0
Dispossessed – 0
Time and time again, the Portuguese superstar delivers when it matters. His goal-scoring form has been exceptional in the knockout stages of the tournament and he finished it as top scorer, leapfrogging Lionel Messi with a brace in the final.
A well-worked attacked saw Ronaldo exchange passes with Carvajal before applying the finishing touch. He then made a great run to the near post for his second. He was hardly a central figure but then again, he doesn’t have to be. He kept poking and prodding at Juventus’ famed back-line with his runs, and it paid off.
It’s a shame that the Croatian has wound up on the losing side after scoring one of the finest goals in a Champions League final. His strike had levelled the tie in the first half, one Juventus will feel they had the better of.
Mandzukic put in yet another industrious display on the left flank and was always a threat in the air. His physicality and fitness definitely had Carvajal in a spot of bother but that seemed to disappear after the Madrid’s second and third goals.
20th min: Madrid attack swiftly after winning the ball before Carvajal is found at the end of a few neat passes, the latest from Ronaldo. The full-back returns it to the Portuguese who steers a low finish past Gianluigi Buffon.
30th min: After Mandzukic’s spectacular goal, Ronaldo tries to emulate it with a bicycle kick of his own. He catches it well enough but it’s blocked before it can get to Buffon.
64th min: Madrid take advantage of some poor defending from Juventus (who would’ve thought, right?). Luka Modric gets down the right hand side after Alex Sandro’s weak header and finds Ronaldo at the near post who turns it in expertly to make it 3-1.
3rd min: Juventus started brightly and Mandzukic gets into the action from the onset. He receives Sandro’s pass before cutting in and crossing for Gonzalo Higuain but the Argentine’s header is easily collect by Keylor Navas.
24th min: This time it’s Mandzukic with the header. Sandro again supplies the Croatian but he can’t direct his effort on target.
27th min: Mandzukic stuns everyone with an extraordinary strike. Sandro crosses for Higuain who controls it and stabs it towards the former Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid striker. Mandzukic chests it beautifully before making a perfect connection with his overhead attempt which left Navas beaten all ends up.
Give him the stage and this man delivers. He’s no longer as influential as he once was and shone in fleeting moments on Saturday night as well. However, his ability once he gets a sniff in and around the penalty area is incredible. He regularly makes the difference and has done so again.
Produced as good of a performance in the final as either he or Allegri could’ve hoped for. He was one of the better players on the field, particularly in the first half, and despite ending up on the losing side, he’s definitely left his mark on the occasion with a strike no one will forget in a hurry.
This is Cristiano Ronaldo. Love him or hate him, one thing is certain, He gets the job done! pic.twitter.com/v180sQbtNV— FAVOUR ONYEOZIRI (@Rouvafe) June 3, 2017