Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to send Juventus through, but Federico Bernardeschi caught Massimiliano Allegri’s eye.
Massimiliano Allegri hailed the performance of Juventus attacker Federico Bernardeschi after his side’s stunning Champions League comeback against Atletico Madrid.
Trailing 2-0 from last month’s opener in the Spanish capital, Juve had it all to do at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday but Cristiano Ronaldo’s treble sent them into the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo scored all three goals for Juve to seal a 3-2 aggregate triumph but Bernardeschi played a key role having featured in a number of different positions.
Bernardeschi started on the right of a front three but switched to the left wing to deliver a brilliant inswinging cross that Ronaldo nodded in to open the scoring.
After Ronaldo levelled the aggregate score by converting a Joao Cancelo cross, Allegri sent on Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean with Bernardeschi dropping into a deeper role.
But the winger still came up with a decisive moment, rampaging down the left and getting into the box before being clumsily pushed to the ground by Atletico substitute Angel Correa.
— Paulo Dybala (@PauDybala_JR) March 12, 2019
“Spinazzola had an excellent game on the left, Federico Bernardeschi did really well too,” Allegri said to Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s a step forward for Bernardeschi and I am well aware of how good he is. We needed a great performance to go through and we did it.
“The lads put in a great performance. They had technique, precision, aggression and it’s what we had planned for the first leg, but I thought about it and made some changes.
“Everyone had been waiting for so long for this game, there was the possibility of a nervous performance, so I told the lads to stay calm and keep their balance, otherwise we’d run a big risk.
“I wanted this approach in the first leg, chose different players and it was tougher with those characteristics. We moved too slowly, didn’t push forward enough and our reading of the game wasn’t good enough.
“It’s really satisfying for the fans, the club, the players themselves, as they know that they are a great team. Now we’ll focus on Serie A, getting the points we need to reach the finish line, and then think about the Champions League.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) March 12, 2019
“Even in the first leg, we had [Rodrigo] Bentancur in a fairly similar position to Emre Can,” Allegri added.
“Tonight Emre Can could build out from the back and play in midfield, allowing Spinazzola and Cancelo to let loose on the flanks.
“I had said the chance [Thomas] Lemar missed at the end of the first leg was a decisive moment, the one that would allow us to qualify.”