Juventus' Champions League hopes came crashing down on Friday after falling to Lyon, with the French side winning the tie on away goals. Dubious penalties gave both sides a mark on the score sheet, with Memphis Depay scoring for Lyon and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring for Juve. Ronaldo even briefly looked like his Champions League heroics would save his current club from elimination with a brilliant goal outside of the box.
But the fact that Lyon's penalty came in an away stadium meant that Juve needed one more goal to secure their place in the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, that goal never came and the 2-2 aggregate tie meant a win for a French team that won't even compete in Champions League next season with how they did in Ligue 1.
Sarri's time is probably up in Turin
Maurizio Sarri was brought in as Juventus manager for one thing and one thing only: success in Europe. He was given the resources and the talent to do just that but he was unable to coalesce the team in a way to yield any sort of continental victories. Sure, he helped Juve win their ninth consecutive Serie A title, but domestic ambitions aren't enough for La Vecchia Signora. As Jamie Carragher noted in the postgame show: for a club that's considered one of the best in Italian football history, there's almost no similar praise for them on a European level -- the way praise is given to clubs like A.C. Milan. It might be a little unfair to expect one man to be in charge of a perception turnaround like that, but Sarri had one job, and he was unable to do it. It will be a major surprise if he still has a surprise come tomorrow.
Ronaldo nearly sparks a comeback
The Portuguese superstar is starting to become an ageless wonder. At 35, it's incredible that he's still a threat to take a game over on his own at such a high level of competition. Even after an early penalty that came on a less-than-stellar call (more on that later) he was able to not let the pressure of the moment get to him when he lined up to shoot from the spot. That combined with his incredible curling shot from outside the box in the second half of the match made it really seem like he was ready to drag Juventus kicking and screaming into the quarterfinals. But where he showed quite tired legs towards the end of the match and was unable to keep the pressure up on his opponent in the way he probably could have maybe five years ago. It sure would have been nice for any of his teammates to step up so they're not relying a man on the tail end of his prime to do all the work for them, but that help never came. Ronaldo can only be expected to do so much at this point in his career.
The controversial calls outshined the players
To be fair to the referee of this match, he was consistently in giving soft fouls on both sides of the ball. But where that style of officiating really reared its ugly head was with two controversial penalties for each side. First was when Juve's Rodrigo Bentancur tackled Houssem Aouar inside the box early in the match. The Juventus player got the ball, and got to his spot, before the Lyon player did, but Betancur's follow through brought down his opponent. It's a penalty that really shouldn't have been called given the circumstances, but it was anyway. Somehow, the referee decided to make an even worse call on the other side. A free kick by Miralem Pjanic went right into the midsection of Memphis Depay, but because his arm happened to be tucked into that very midsection, the referee determined it was a handball inside of the box. If that's a handball by definition, then the rules need to be revised.
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