Douglas Costa scored the winning goal in the 93rd minute to send Juventus through to the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday. But the talking point of the night for the Turin club inevitably involved Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo curled in a free-kick from the left flank and Lokomotiv goalkeeper Guilherme let the wet ball slip through his hands. As it rolled over the line, Aaron Ramsey poked it into the net. UEFA credited Ramsey as the scorer.
"I thought the keeper was a lot closer to me and had a chance of diving back and maybe clearing it," Ramsey said. "My instinct took over to make sure that it went over the line. I've apologized to Cristiano."
In fact, if Ramsey had not 'interferred' it would have been Ronaldo's first goal from a free-kick for Juventus.
Aaron Ramsey gets his first Champions League goal for Juventus!pic.twitter.com/cv4btwPypY
— Forza Juventus Videos (@ForzaJuveVids) November 6, 2019
There was more drama stll as in the 82nd minute Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri took the decision to substitute Ronaldo, who looked less than pleased at his withdrawal from the game.
"Ronaldo was angry when he came off because he has a small knee injury and this created another small thigh problem. I replaced him just because I feared he could aggravate his injury," Sarri was told UEFA.com.
As for the game, Lokomotiv leveled after Juventus took an early lead and looked headed for a point before a moment of individual brilliance from Douglas Costa.
The Brazilian picked up the ball on the left flank and cut inside past three defenders. He then played a one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, dodged two more Lokomotiv players and knocked the ball through goalkeeper Guilherme's legs.
Juventus' substitutes came onto the pitch to celebrate as Douglas Costa pulled off his shirt. It was his first goal of the season after a long absence with a muscle injury.
"This was a really important game because I have been out for a long time but I have come back and helped the team," said Douglas Costa, who was a 70th-minute substitute.
The goal ensured Juventus qualified from Group D with two games to spare.
Bayer Leverkusen upset Atletico Madrid 2-1 in Wednesday's other game in the group, leaving Juventus with a three-point advantage over Atletico at the top of Group D.
"We still have work to do to finish top but we achieved our target of qualifying tonight, so we're happy that we've done that," Ramsey said after the game.
Leverkusen and Lokomotiv are likely fighting for third and a spot in the Europa League. They're level on three points.
(With inputs from AP)