Ronaldo can decide any encounter - Simeone

By Sports Desk September 18, 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a late chance as Juventus drew their Champions League opener against Atletico Madrid, but Diego Simeone remains aware the Portuguese can decide any encounter.

Atletico came from two goals down with 20 minutes to go at the Wanda Metropolitano, Stefan Savic and Hector Herrera converting well-worked set-pieces.

It was a measure of revenge for Simeone's side after Juve knocked them out of the competition last term despite losing the first leg of their last-16 tie 2-0 in the Spanish capital.

Ronaldo's hat-trick in the return fixture eliminated Atletico and he almost snatched all three Group D points at the death on Wednesday, firing wide after beating a series of defenders.

The former Real Madrid forward has scored 25 career goals against Atletico, with Simeone relieved his late chance narrowly missed Jan Oblak's goal.

"It was a tremendous piece of play," Simeone told Movistar of the Juve superstar.

"We know the player he is, that he can decide an encounter at any moment."

Set-pieces offered Atletico a route back into the game after goals from Juan Cuadrado and Blaise Matuidi put the Serie A champions in control.

Savic nodded home after a free-kick to bring Atletico within one goal and when Kieran Trippier delivered a corner in the 90th minute, substitute Herrera steered in a magnificent header.

"Hector was working really well and it's no accident that he came on and scored," Simeone said.

"In life, work always has reward, and more so in football. The competition is very good and that makes us grow.

"It was a spectacular Champions League game, against a really strong opponent, really tough, with great individual and collective quality.

"We started well, although without chances to score, but in the second half they hurt us twice; Cuadrado and Matuidi took the game from us, but we didn't lose face.

"In the first half we had really good circulation of the ball, although we didn't have chances at goal, which is what counts.

"I like this draw because we haven't lost face and because we recovered from being 2-0 down. When the youngsters evolve, we'll be closer to winning."

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