Football

Many people wanted us to fail: Bonucci

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said his side were motivated by critics who "were ready to celebrate our defeat" after they overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Serie A champions had never before overcome a two-goal deficit in Europe but a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick ended that statistic in their Champions League last-16 clash in Turin.

The win came after Juve came in for much criticism after the first leg in Madrid.

Bonucci told Sky Sport Italia: "Many were ready to celebrate our defeat.

"This is a great night for the Juventus population.

"Many things were said, both after that game and over the last few days, but Juve always respond on the pitch.

"We had four chances and put three of them in. They did the same in the first leg, having two chances and scoring both. We put our cojones into this match."

Teammate Federico Bernardeschi, meanwhile, called the first-leg defeat a "slap in the face" but said his side were always confident they would be able to recover.

He told Sky Sports Italia: "It's not good to get a slap in the face and it would've been easier to start without a 2-0 deficit, but we always believed anyway, over the last three weeks, despite everything."

After the match, the Atletico camp admitted they had been second best.

Said coach Diego Simeone: "Juventus were better and deserved to win the game. They pushed us back.

"You must congratulate opponents when they play a game like that and you are beaten like today."

His striker Antoine Griezmann admitted "Juventus were superior on every level".

He said: "It was a bad night and we made it easier for Juventus... I'm the first to say I didn't do enough, our tempo was wrong and Juventus were superior on every level."

Defender Diego Godin added: "We defended but conceded goals. We didn't look like scoring a goal."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, dubbed Juventus Champions League favourites despite his side's 7-0 hammering of Schalke 04 yesterday.

Football