The three months of rust caked on Cristiano Ronaldo was plain for all the world to see Friday when the Juventus superstar missed a penalty against AC Milan in the second leg of the Italian Super Cup semifinal.
Ronaldo struggled throughout Italian soccer’s first match since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down most sports across the globe. But while the 35-year-old squandered a golden chance to put Juve a ahead in the home-and-home, total-goals series, the away goal Ronaldo scored in the final seconds of the first leg back in February was enough to send Juve through following a scoreless draw played in a near-empty stadium Turin.
The sides came into the decisive game tied 1-1 on aggregate. And as he had in the opener, Ronaldo once again beat Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma from the spot. This time, though, Ronaldo’s shot ricocheted off the inside of the post and out of danger:
The ball stayed in play, and seconds after the miss, the hosts caught another outcome-altering break when Milan forward Ante Rebic was correctly shown a red card for a karate kick-like challenge that left Juve captain Alessio Romagnoli writhing in agony on the turf.
Juventus will meet either Napoli or Inter Milan in the June 17 final in Rome. Those teams face off in the second leg of the other semifinal series on Saturday. The Serie A season resumes three days later, with league-leading Juventus looking to clinch its ninth consecutive domestic title.
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