Ace footballer Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return from injury in a grand style as he netted a precious away goal for Juventus, who played a pulsating draw against impressive Ajax 1-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. With his breathtaking header at the stroke of half-time, Ronaldo subdued the 50,000 home fans in the Johan Cruyff Arena to take his record goal tally to 125 in the coveted Champions League competition.
However, Brazilian winger David Neres conjured a stunning equaliser almost immediately after half-time to give Ajax a draw that was the very least they deserved. Despite that, it is Juventus — for whom substitute Douglas Costa struck a post late on — who hold the upper hand heading into next Tuesday’s return in Turin, with the winners of this tie facing Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur in the last four.
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“Ronaldo showed that he is on a different level. His timing and movement is different to everyone else’s, there’s nothing you can do about it,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“Ajax have great quality. We suffered after their goal but we defended well and finished the game better.” Ronaldo was making his first appearance since suffering a thigh injury playing for Portugal last month — it was his first game for Juventus since netting the hat-trick that dumped out Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
The 34-year-old is aiming to win the trophy for the fourth year running, and his goal here came from the visitors’ only attempt on target.
Ajax had set up this tie by ending Real Madrid’s European hegemony in the previous round after a thrilling 4-1 victory in Spain, and maintain hope going into the return.
“It is not the result you hope for, but it is a result. Last time we lost 2-1 to Madrid at home so we are still in it,” said their coach, Erik ten Hag.
(With Quotes from Agencies)