Ajax draw Juventus in Amsterdam, Ronaldo back with goal

Reuters  PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW

Reuters PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW

The Juventus forward's first-half header was cancelled out by David Neres as Ajax battled to a 1-1 first-leg draw in the quarter-final first leg.

Allegri will now focus on how to complete the task in Turin next week when they host Ajax in the second leg.

On his return from a thigh injury, Ronaldo subdued the 50,000 home fans in the Johan Cruyff Arena when he headed Juventus in front on the stroke of half-time to take his record goal tally in the competition to 125.

The recently retired Spanish centre back was formerly a Manchester United player having joined the club as a teenager in 2004.

But soon Ajax were into full flow, pinning their Italian opponents back and restricting their often devastating counter-attacking style, with Cristiano Ronaldo a passenger for much of the opening period.

Max Allegri already confirmed several picks in his Press conference, for example that Daniele Rugani will play at centre-back with Leonardo Bonucci and Cristiano Ronaldo will be in the starting XI after his injury on global duty.

"We failed against Bayern Munich in the home game [of their group-stage fixture], giving away a 3-2 score. In the return leg, we'll have to give everything because Juventus are incredibly hard".

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"His timing and movement is different to everyone else's, there's nothing you can do about it", said coach Massimiliano Allegri.

In the previous round, Ronaldo nearly single-handedly overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit to Atletico by scoring a hat trick in a 3-0 win.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero needs 89 goals to draw level with Ronaldo and is 30 years old.

Playing for the first time since suffering a muscle injury on global duty last month, Ronaldo broke the deadlock via a diving header on the stroke of half-time.

The biggest obstacle between Ajax and a first Champions League semi-final since 1997, though, might be Ronaldo.

"I don't think we were distracted on the goal, but we did concede straight after the break and Ajax gained confidence, while we were a little in shock".

Ronaldo was the top scorer in 2007/08 as United beat Chelsea in the final and in each of the last SIX seasons - including when he scored 17 as Real Madrid won their tenth European crown.

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