Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘robbed’ of a goal to set a record ahead of Lionel Messi when Aaron Ramsey stabbed home his spilled free kick as the ball was about to cross the line in Juventus’ 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow.
It took Juventus just four minutes to open the scoring at Lokomotiv Stadium on Wednesday in their Group D match in a soggy Russian capital, courtesy of some calamitous goalkeeping.
Portuguese winger Ronaldo whipped in a seemingly harmless low free kick from the left flank that bobbled just as Loko ‘keeper Guilherme attempted collect, with the ball instead slipping through his legs.
It looked to be heading in when Welshman Aaron Ramsey popped up and stabbed home from on the goal line, denying Ronaldo of an all-important goal. Of course, the Twitterati would let something like that slip, and soon Twitter was awash with sinister memes.
The goal would have put Ronaldo ahead of long-time rival Lionel Messi and former Real Madrid striker Raul as the only player to have scored against 34 Champions League teams.
Despite it looking as though Juventus would go on to capitalize on their early lead, Lokomotiv equalized only eight minutes later when Aleksei Miranchuk, the scorer in Turin when the two sides met two weeks earlier, headed across goal and onto the far post.
The rebound fell straight at the Russian’s feet and with Juventus stopper Wojciech Szczesny stranded, the midfielder slotted into an empty net with 12 minutes played and made sure both sides headed into the break level pegging.
At the interval, fans were treated to UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s appearance on the big screen. The Dagestan fighter is in town for UFC Moscow at the weekend, but is also a friend of Ronaldo’s; the two met and exchanged gifts when the winger played for Khabib’s favorite team Real Madrid in 2018.
After the restart, Ronaldo still couldn’t find his goal to compensate for being ‘robbed’ by Ramsey in the first half. The 34-year-old was substituted by manager Maurizio Sarri on 82 minutes for first leg two-goal hero Paulo Dybala and was clearly upset at how his night had unfolded.
Ronaldo was seen remonstrating with Sarri as he trudged off the pitch, although about what exactly remains unclear.
Just as Lokomotiv thought they were heading for a well-earned point, Brazilian Costa dribbled in from the left wing and played a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain in the area before excellently slotting home – again the ball going through the legs of Guilherme – to seal a last-gasp win in the 93rd minute of the game.
Costa wheeled away to celebrate in the rain with the pocket of black-clad supporters at RZD Arena, and Lokomotiv were left to lick their wounds as the match ended the same scoreline as their meeting in Turin, despite their best efforts.
The three points ensured group leaders Juventus qualified from the group and sealed their place in the knockout stages, while third-placed Lokomotiv must win their next two games versus Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid or they will dumped out of the competition.