Two titans collide in the Champions League on Wednesday when Real Madrid host Manchester City, while Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to continue his remarkable goal-scoring record in the knockout phase.

Ronaldo has come a long way since the days critics suggested he did not perform in the biggest matches, as he now boasts an astonishing record in the latter stages of Europe's elite competition.

He will fancy his chances of being decisive yet again in this tie, with Juve firm favourites against Lyon.

Nevertheless, most eyes will be on the Santiago Bernabeu, as Pep Guardiola takes City to the setting of some of his most chaotic matches as a coach, having previously been in charge of Barcelona.

Ahead of those two matches, we take a look at the key data below.

Real Madrid v Manchester City

4 - Madrid have prevailed in their previous four Champions League knockout ties against English opposition: 5-0 on aggregate v Tottenham (2010-11 quarter-finals), 3-2 v Manchester United (2012-13 last 16), 1-0 v Manchester City (2015-16 semi-finals), 3-1 v Liverpool (2017-18 final).

23 - Los Blancos are into the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 23rd consecutive season, the longest run in the history of the tournament and a streak that began in 1997-98.

22 - Madrid have scored in each of their previous 22 home games in the knockout stages of the Champions League; the last team to stop them from scoring were Pep Guardiola's Barcelona in the 2010-11 semi-finals (0-2). However, they have failed to win their past three knockout matches at the Santiago Bernabeu (D1 L2); Madrid have never gone four matches in a row without a victory.

3 - City boss Guardiola is facing Madrid in a Champions League knockout tie for the third time, with a third different club – he won 3-1 on aggregate with Barcelona in the 2010-11 semi-finals and he lost 5-0 on aggregate with Bayern in the 2013-14 semi-finals.

10 - Sterling has scored 10 goals in his previous 13 Champions League appearances, one more goal than in the 34 matches in this competition (nine) prior to that run. Only Lionel Messi (six) and Ronaldo (five) scored more times than Sterling in last season's knockout stages (four).

Lyon v Juventus

11 - Lyon have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League more times than any other French club (11). However, it has been 10 years since they progressed past the round of 16 (2009-10). They have scored only three goals in their previous nine knockout games in this competition (W1 D2 L6).

6 - Juve are in the Champions League knockout stages for the sixth straight season, their longest ever run. In the past five campaigns, they have made it past the last 16 on four occasions, only failing to do so in 2015-16 when they were eliminated by Bayern Munich (4-6 on aggregate).

2 - Lyon won two of their six group games (D2 L2), the lowest tally alongside Atalanta among the remaining 16 teams.

45 - Memphis Depay (six goals, four assists) has been directly involved in 45 per cent of Lyon's Champions League goals since the start of last season (10/22), however they will be without the Dutch forward for this match due to injury.

65 - Among the seven players with 50+ goals in the Champions League, Juve striker Ronaldo is the only one to have scored more goals in the knockout stages (65) than in the group phase (63). He has also registered more assists in the competition against Lyon (four) than any other side.

Robert Lewandowski equalled a Champions League best set by Cristiano Ronaldo as he led Bayern Munich to an emphatic win at Chelsea.

Lewandowski scored once and assisted another two goals as the Bundesliga leaders claimed a 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The Bayern striker combined with Serge Gnabry to devastating effect to set up two goals in the space of three minutes for the Germany winger, before tapping in a cross from the electric Alphonso Davies to secure a potentially unassailable first-leg advantage.

Lewandowski moved onto 11 goals in seven Champions League games, his best record in a single season, while he also matched Ronaldo's record of nine away goals scored in Europe's top club competition in the same campaign set back in 2013-14.

Remarkably, the Poland star had gone 672 minutes without a goal in the Champions League knockout phase until his simple finish.

Bayern's win means they have scored three or more goals away from home against four separate English sides in the competition since 2013 - Arsenal twice, Tottenham, and now Chelsea.

The margin of defeat was Chelsea's heaviest at home in any European competition in their history.

While Lewandowski and Gnabry were responsible for the goals, it was the performance of young converted full-back Davies that particularly caught the eye.

The 19-year-old was a menace down the left with his pace and also kept Chelsea wing-back Reece James on the fringes of the action with some superb defensive work.

As well as creating two chances overall, including Lewandowski's tap-in, Davies regained possession eight times in the 90 minutes. Only Thiago Alcantara (17) did so more often for Hansi Flick's side.

Rudi Garcia says Cristiano Ronaldo is still among the best players on the planet but the Lyon boss has no plans in place to stop the Juventus forward.

Lyon welcome Italian champions Juve to the Groupama Stadium on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Ronaldo scored for a record-equalling 11th-straight Serie A match in Saturday's 2-1 win at SPAL and boasts 65 goals in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Lyon head coach Garcia acknowledged the threat Ronaldo poses, but has warned his players there is more to Juventus than one player.

"I don't know him but he's a great professional," ex-Roma chief Garcia said at a pre-match news conference. "He works more than the others, both before and after sessions.

"It is interesting for the sport to have such players. He is among the best on the planet and it's nice to face him. 

"There is no anti-Ronaldo plan - we have to deal with all of their champions. If we need an anti-Ronaldo plan, we need an anti-Dybala plan, an anti-Higuain plan. 

"There are too many good players on this team to solve problems individually. We're going to have to solve them collectively."

Ronaldo has made a habit of scoring crucial goals on the European stage, but Lyon striker Moussa Dembele fired blanks in all six of Lyon's Group G matches.

The 23-year-old has scored 20 goals in 38 games in all competitions this term and does not feel under any pressure to get off the mark in the Champions League.

"There are a lot of expectations for my first Champions League goal, but there's no pressure on me," he told reporters. 

"I want to play my game, doing my best for the team.

"I am physically in good shape and try to do my best both before and after training to ensure that I am at the top of my game."

After dominating European football for over a decade, could Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shelve their rivalry and come together as team-mates?

David Beckham might be the man to make it happen.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder appears to have ambitious plans for his new MLS franchise.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI, RONALDO WANTED AT INTER MIAMI

Barcelona captain Messi, 32, and Juventus talisman Ronaldo, 35, will end their careers on the same side if Inter Miami co-owner Beckham gets his wish, according to the Mirror.

The newspaper claims the new MLS outfit are "already thinking big" and could look to lure football's two biggest superstars to the United States.

LA Galaxy have also been linked with a move for Messi but Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath believes Beckham's pulling power has the potential to create a dream attacking duo.

“For Ronaldo and Messi, the two obvious destinations if they came to the MLS would be Los Angeles and Miami," Heath told the Mirror.

"And, with his links to both players and the plan Beckham and his backers have in place, I can really only see them going to Miami."

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are set to launch a £50million bid for Wolves forward Diogo Jota, scorer of a Europa League hat-trick on Thursday, reports the Express.

- United have also been linked with Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham but the Red Devils are set to face competition from Liverpool, according to the Daily Star.

- Serie A leaders Juventus are at the front of the queue for Paul Pogba but Paris Saint-Germain also hope to land the French star, reports Le10 Sport.

- PSG, meanwhile, are planning for life after Thomas Tuchel, who is said to be in talks with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. L'Equipe claims the Ligue 1 champions could look to replace him with either Massimiliano Allegri or Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi.

- Premier League clubs Sheffield United, Wolves and Burnley are showing interest in Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, suggests the Sun.

Aaron Ramsey felt right at home in a midfield three for Juventus as he scored what proved to be the winner against lowly SPAL.

In a game where Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with the opening goal, it was Ramsey's strike that was decisive as SPAL went on to cut the deficit with a late penalty.

The Wales international confidently collected Paulo Dybala's incisive pass and lifted a deft finish over Etrit Berisha to score his first Serie A goal since September, moving Juve four points clear at the summit. 

Having often been employed in a more advanced role behind the strikers, Ramsey was pleased to settle into his rhythm as part of a midfield trio.

"Of course, this is my position, it's where I wanted to play when I came here, it's where I played my whole career," the former Arsenal player told Sky Sport Italia.

"I have the chance to make runs into the box and also score goals, so that is where I feel most comfortable."

Juve were not at their fluent best at Stadio Paolo Mazza on Saturday but got the job done against the division's rock-bottom side.

With a Champions League trip to Lyon and the visit of Inter for a crunch clash in the title race coming up next, Rasmey was pleased just to come away with the points.

"It's very big, it's always difficult to come to places like this," he said,

"It was important to stick at it, we got the three points. It's a big week for us and this is an excellent way to start."

 

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his 1,000th career appearance with a goal as Juventus beat rock-bottom SPAL 2-1 to move four points clear at the top of Serie A.

The Portugal superstar, rested for the 2-0 win over Brescia last time out, scored in an 11th consecutive Italian top-flight game, matching a feat previously achieved by Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

Maurzio Sarri's side, who were far from convincing, added a second through Aaron Ramsey before Andrea Petagna's penalty offered SPAL late, but ultimately fruitless, hope. 

The reigning champions will now watch on with interest when title rivals Lazio and Inter both play on Sunday. 

SPAL started brightly as Petagna tested Wojciech Szczesny inside the opening three minutes.

However, Ronaldo, who scored in the reverse fixture back in September, had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end, while the unmarked Juan Cuadrado blasted high and wide with an ugly first-time effort.

Juve began to build pressure and SPAL had to put their bodies on the line to thwart Cuadrado, with Etrit Berisha smothering the Colombian's deflected shot. 

Szczesny had a brief scare when Gabriel Strefezza's low strike threatened to nutmeg him, but the Pole recovered just in time.

After Paulo Dybala had struck the post with a curler, Ronaldo celebrated his milestone outing – his 1,000th for club and country – with a measured 39th-minute finish at the end of a move instigated by Ramsey, with Cuadrado providing the assist.

Giorgio Chiellini's first starting appearance since August came to an end just before the hour mark, and the ovation for the Juve stalwart had barely finished when Ramsey doubled his side's lead.

Picked out incisively by Dybala, Ramsey kept his cool to loft a fine finish over Berisha for his first league goal since September.

SPAL stuck at their task and halved the deficit when Simone MissirolI was felled in the box by Daniele Rugani, Petagna slotting in the spot-kick for a worthy consolation before Ronaldo's late free-kick hit the crossbar.

 

What does it mean?

Lazio and Inter will need to respond on Sunday, facing Genoa and Sampdoria respectively, or else Juve might begin to make themselves comfortable at the summit.

Ronaldo's class is permanent

The numbers behind Ronaldo's stellar career continue to defy belief, with this his 725th career goal. Having recently turned 35, we might be seeing the twilight years of an all-time great. Make the most of it.

Rugani a weak link

Rugani clumsily conceded the penalty from which SPAL pulled a goal back, but even aside from that the centre-back's display was scruffy, with a passing accuracy of 75.4 per cent, which dropped to 52 per cent in the opposing team’s half.

What's next?

The Champions League takes centre stage for Juve with Wednesday's game in Lyon, though next Sunday's visit of Inter in a crunch Serie A clash will certainly be on their radar. As for SPAL, they are off to Parma next weekend. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella in the Serie A record books after scoring in an 11th successive league game.

Ronaldo, on his 1000th professional appearance, put Juventus ahead after 39 minutes of Saturday's clash with SPAL, tucking in from Juan Cuadrado's cross.

The goal took 35-year-old Ronaldo level with Fiorentina icon Batistuta and Sampdoria star Quagliarella, both of whom had previously scored at least once in 11 straight Serie A matches.

While Batistuta achieved the feat in the 1994-95 campaign, Quagliarella – also aged 35 at the time – did so last season.

Neither player could make it 12 games on the run, however, meaning Ronaldo will have the chance to set a new record when Juve face Inter in a crucial match in the title race on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo brought up 1,000 career appearances in Juventus' trip to SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

A hero for Portugal, Sporting CP, Manchester United and Real Madrid across a decorated career, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has racked up a succession of impressive landmarks.

And there have been plenty of moments of magic that live long in the memory along the way.

Here, we take a look back at 10 of Ronaldo's very best goals.

 

Manchester United v Portsmouth: January 30, 2008

Perhaps the finest free-kick Ronaldo has struck in his career.

The Portuguese developed his reputation as a set-piece master at United and he lashed a phenomenal 25-yard effort past David James as part of a double to send Alex Ferguson's side to the top of the Premier League.

His knuckleball technique sent the ball swirling into the top-right corner for one of his defining Old Trafford moments.

 

Porto v Manchester United: April 15, 2009

He had absolutely no right to score this one.

Back in his homeland for a Champions League quarter-final against Porto, Ronaldo picked up the ball in the middle of the opposition half, got it out of his feet and sent a searing strike flying past Helton to seal a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

 

Almeria v Real Madrid: April 15, 2010

Ronaldo has developed into more of a penalty-box poacher in recent seasons, but this effort against Almeria was a reminder of how devastating he could be when starting from outside the area.

Rafael van der Vaart won back possession in the Almeria half and the ball was worked to Ronaldo, who accelerated past two challenges, left a third defender for dead with a stepover, and drilled home with his left foot. The visitors would go on to win 2-1.

 

Sevilla v Real Madrid: December 17, 2011

Sevilla have grown sick of the sight of Ronaldo – he has scored 27 times against them, after all – but this strike in a 6-2 thrashing is perhaps the best of them all.

Collecting Karim Benzema's pass 30 yards out, Ronaldo took advantage of the time and space given to him by the defence to blast a shot into the top-right corner, the swerve on the ball making it totally unstoppable. It was one of three he scored that day at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

 

Real Madrid v Valencia: May 4, 2014

It was not enough to keep Madrid's title chase alive, but this was another goal that showcased Ronaldo's killer instinct and dexterity.

In second-half injury time, with Valencia 2-1 ahead, Angel Di Maria volleyed over a cross from the left and Ronaldo swivelled to score a backheel volley and snatch a point.

 

Real Madrid v Espanyol: January 31, 2016

Although his game had become more refined from those buccaneering early days, Ronaldo showed here he was not quite done when it came to solo runs and spectacular finishes.

With Madrid already 3-0 up in what would prove to be a 6-0 thrashing, James Rodriguez's pass was deflected into Ronaldo's path and he did the rest, showing brilliant footwork to skip beyond three challenges before rifling home from the edge of the area with his left foot.

 

Hungary v Portugal: June 22, 2016

Portugal fell behind to Hungary three times in Lyon during Euro 2016, and Ronaldo brought them level on the second occasion with a display of fine skill.

The captain added a deft flick with his trailing leg to Joao Mario's right-wing cross to make it 2-2, and he cancelled out Balazs Dzsudzsak's second with a double of his own. It was enough to send Portugal into the knockout stages and from there they went on to claim a maiden international title.

 

Juventus v Real Madrid: April 3, 2018

Arguably the best goal Ronaldo has produced.

Moving away from goal as Dani Carvajal dug a cross towards the penalty spot from the right, he rose into the air to connect with a marvellous overhead kick. His leg was at a right angle to his body as he struck with the sweetest of volleys that flew past Gianluigi Buffon.

 

Portugal v Spain: June 15, 2018

Having twice given his side the lead, Ronaldo found Portugal 3-2 down to their Iberian neighbours in their thrilling opener at the 2018 World Cup.

The was a sense of inevitability when he stood over an 88th minute free-kick, but the execution was sheer perfection – power and dip combined to leave David de Gea with no chance.

 

Juventus v Manchester United: November 8, 2018

Another decorated Portuguese was celebrating at full-time when Jose Mourinho watched his Manchester United team complete a 2-1 comeback win.

But Ronaldo struck first with a sumptuous and technically brilliant strike, watching Leonardo Bonucci's raking ball over his shoulder to volley home.  

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make his 1,000th appearance for club and country when Juventus face SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

The Portugal superstar was named in Maurizio Sarri's starting XI after being rested for the 2-0 win over Brescia last weekend.

Providing the 35-year-old comes through the warm-up unscathed, he will bring up his incredible landmark and seek to add to his tally of 724 goals. 

It will be the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's 73rd outing for Juve, with the bulk of his matches having come for Real Madrid (438).

Manchester United sit second on that list (292), with 31 of his games coming for Sporting CP, a further two for Sporting B and 164 for his country. 

Bruno Fernandes said Cristiano Ronaldo inspired him to fulfil a "childhood dream" and play for Manchester United.

Fernandes swapped Sporting CP for United for an initial fee of £46.5million (€55m) prior to the deadline and the Portugal international has already established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

United midfielder Fernandes has earned rave reviews for his performances against Wolves and Chelsea, while he impressed off the bench against Club Brugge in the Europa League on Thursday.

Fernandes said former Sporting teenager and United legend Ronaldo – who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours during his time in Manchester – played a role in moving from Portugal to England as he eyes silverware at Old Trafford.

"I'm a Cristiano Ronaldo fan and he's a player I've always followed," Fernandes said via Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's clash against Watford.

"When Cristiano burst on to the scene here in Manchester, he spent a good chunk of his early career here and enjoyed so much success.

"That's why it was a dream of mine to play for Manchester United and I'm very pleased to be here because it's a childhood dream come true.

"I think any player who joins Manchester United wants to win everything; I want to win every competition that Manchester United compete in.

"I'm an ambitious player who wants success and I want to win every game in every competition we're in."

Fernandes added: "I didn't speak to [Ronaldo] before coming but did after my arrival. I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person. I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.

"Pressure always has to be present in our day-to-day and we have to be under pressure to improve every day. I'm a person who demands a lot from myself and always want more and to do better.

"That's why, regardless of the transfer fee, I wanted to keep improving and be a better player."

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe as the present and the future of football.

Mbappe has established himself as one of the best players in the world after bursting onto the scene with Ligue 1 outfit Monaco in 2016-17.

The coveted 21-year-old has already won a World Cup, three Ligue 1 titles and three other domestic trophies for France, PSG and Monaco.

Continually linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, Juventus superstar and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo heaped praise on Mbappe.

"Mbappe is the future and the present," Ronaldo said in a promotional video shared by Marca.

"He's a fantastic player, very fast, and he will be the future."

Seen as the heir to Ronaldo and Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Mbappe has flourished for PSG in the French capital.

After scoring 39 goals across all competitions last season, Mbappe has 24 this term – 15 of those coming in Ligue 1.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, is in red-hot form for Serie A champions Juventus in 2019-20.

The 35-year-old forward has scored 20 league goals and 24 in all competitions.

Ronaldo has netted 12 goals in his past eight matches for Maurizio Sarri's Juve, who are a point clear atop the table.

Maurizio Sarri explained his decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus' 2-0 victory over Brescia, saying the 35-year-old forward "cannot play 75 games" a year.

Ronaldo was left out of the squad after scoring 10 goals in his previous six Serie A appearances to take his tally to 20 this season, but Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado found the net in his absence on Sunday.

Sarri was also without injured quartet Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Sami Khedira, and Merih Demiral, but Giorgio Chiellini made his first appearance since August as a second-half substitute.

Juve boss Sarri felt Portugal star Ronaldo needed time to put his feet up given the workload he has for club and country.

Sarri said: "It is difficult; we have many strong players and some are out.

"They are all atypical players, without a specific role. We have many situations to fix.

"Ronaldo is a centre-forward who starts off-centre. Today Cristiano had to rest; he cannot play 75 games there a year between the national team and the club, so we decided to let him recover."

On Chiellini, he added: "He put himself in the team. He had said it since yesterday. He made six months of great sacrifices."

Sarri admitted his side's performance against Brescia left plenty of room for improvement after seeing the Serie A champions pick up only their second win in five matches.

Defeats to Napoli and Hellas Verona either side of a victory over Fiorentina preceded Juve's 1-1 Coppa Italia draw with Milan ahead of the win over Brescia on Sunday, and they face SPAL on Saturday with Ronaldo set to play his 1,000th career game.

"We can improve on everything," said Sarri.

"On a defensive level we have room for improvement. We also have room for improvement in attack.

"We have hit the post five times in the last two games, so a little more luck would help us. We must focus on ourselves, instead of looking to others."

After 37 minutes at the Allianz Stadium, Brescia could at least be grateful Maurizio Sarri had spared them the torment of trying to contain Cristiano Ronaldo.

Serie A's second-bottom side had just been reduced to 10 men, forward Florian Aye bounding untidily into Aaron Ramsey with the enthusiasm and poise of a Labrador puppy to earn a second booking in the space of three and a half minutes.

The visitors were already operating with their third-choice goalkeeper between the posts, an early head injury having accounted for Jesse Joronen's understudy Enrico Alfonso and thrusting Lorenzo Andrenacci into an unexpected top-flight debut.

It meant opportunity knocked for Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, the Argentina duo who were leading the Juve attack as Ronaldo, who has scored in every appearance in 2020, enjoyed a well-earned rest.

Higuain and Dybala have had to tailor their games this term under Sarri, operating within a significantly different tactical setup and very much at Ronaldo's service.

Nevertheless, the gulf in Serie A goal returns from the trio heading into the weekend was stark: Ronaldo boasting a haul of 20 in 2019-20 set against five apiece for his two attacking colleagues.

As Juve resume their pursuit of that elusive Champions League crown and contend with Inter's unflinching challenge domestically, it would be preferable to see the burden shared more equitably – irrespective of Ronaldo's superpowers showing little sign of fading.

Higuain offered a demonstration of his underrated selflessness just after the half hour, stealing in front of Ales Mateju and cutting an inviting ball back across goal. It laid on the sort of chance Ronaldo has gleefully gobbled up time and again over recent weeks, but Dybala failed to adjust to the bounce and skewed woefully wide from eight yards.

Aye's indiscretion allowed him to make amends in style, lifting a delicate free-kick beyond Andrenacci.

Higuain and Dybala each went close with fine angled strikes before the break but, not for the first time over recent weeks, a presumed formality for Sarri's men became a bit of a slog.

Brescia's defending was often of the last-ditch variety – Stefano Sabelli showing great poise to clear off the line and deny Higuain before Birkir Bjarnason bravely denied Dybala at the end of a slaloming run – although their Iceland midfielder fired a presentable half-chance over from 20 yards in the 72nd minute.

It required the more unheralded member of Sarri's Ronaldo-less trident, Juan Cuadrado, to make the points safe. Cuadrado found a cute finish after a clever one-two with substitute Blaise Matuidi.

Like Dybala's, this was another goal wonderfully easy on the eye. The concern for Juventus and their coach is they are increasingly reliant on such moments of magic or Ronaldo's enduring brilliance. Sarrismo is yet to fully take hold in Turin, with the collective frequently underwhelming.

Higuain had a header ruled out for offside and Dybala crashed against the crossbar late on, meaning Inter's goal difference remains five better than Juve's ahead of Sunday's blockbuster clash with third-placed Lazio in Rome.

For the fine-margins battle ahead, it is hard to escape the feeling Juventus need more than the sporadic flashes of brilliance that are just about sustaining them at present.

Paulo Dybala scored his sixth Serie A goal of the season and Juan Cuadrado was also on target as Juventus earned a 2-0 victory over 10-man Brescia that moved the Bianconeri top of Serie A ahead of Inter's evening kick-off at Lazio.

With in-form Cristiano Ronaldo rested by head coach Maurizio Sarri, Argentina international Dybala provided the firepower the champions needed from a first-half free-kick after Brescia forward Florian Aye was sent off.

Sarri's men were guilty of wasteful finishing against their 19th-placed visitors, who might have ground out a point towards their battle against relegation had they kept 11 men on the field, but Cuadrado kept his cool to double their lead after 75 minutes.

It was far from a vintage performance, but two goals proved enough to earn Juve a first win in three matches and relieve some of the pressure mounting around Sarri's position.

Giorgio Chiellini's appearance as a second-half substitute following a long injury lay-off also boosted the home crowd.

An early clash with Gonzalo Higuain left Brescia goalkeeper Enrico Alfonso unable to continue and he was replaced by the club's third-choice stopper Lorenzo Andrenacci after nine minutes.

But Brescia's impressive first half fell apart 10 minutes before the interval.

Aye brought down Aaron Ramsey on the edge of the box and received his second yellow card in four minutes, before Dybala curled a sublime free-kick into the left corner of the net with Andrenacci rooted to the spot.

Andrenacci kept the deficit to one goal at the break with a superb one-handed save, turning a Daniele Rugani header onto the crossbar when the Juve defender looked certain to score.

Leonardo Bonucci was denied early in the second half, Andrenacci parrying the Italy international's powerful header away from danger.

Dybala danced through the Brescia box after 66 minutes only to have his shot from 12 yards blocked by Birkir Bjarnason.

Bjarnason blazed over the crossbar when the ball fell to him unmarked on the edge of the box moments before Cuadrado made sure of the victory, playing a neat one-two with Blaise Matuidi and applying a cool, dinked finish past Andrenacci from six yards out.

Higuain saw a header disallowed for offside late on and Dybala hit the bar right at the death, with Juventus comfortable in the end.

What does it mean? Sarri keeps Pep talk on hold

A run of two defeats in three Serie A games handed the title race initiative to Inter and led to speculation that Pep Guardiola could replace Sarri at the end of the season.

While unspectacular, this win steadied the ship and reassured Juve supporters that their side are not reliant on Ronaldo to keep them winning.

Dybala does the business

It was an all-action performance from Dybala, who linked up with Cuadrado and Higuain to great effect throughout, took his goal superbly and rattled the crossbar with his rising drive on the stroke of full-time.

Clumsy Aye costs Brescia

Just four minutes after being booked for a needless foul on Danilo, Aye got his legs tangled up with Ramsey in a dangerous position, got himself sent off and conceded the free-kick from which Dybala scored.

What's next?

Ronaldo is in line to play his 1,000th career match as Juventus travel to Ferrara to face SPAL on Saturday, with Brescia hosting Napoli on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been left out of Juventus' squad to face Brescia in Serie A on Sunday.

Ronaldo's penalty to snatch a 1-1 draw in the first leg of Juve's Coppa Italia semi-final against Milan on Thursday continued his run of scoring in every match he has played in 2020.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's next chance to continue that run and his record of netting in each of his previous nine Serie A games is likely to come in next weekend's trip to SPAL.

Ronaldo's next appearance will be the 1,000th outing of his highly decorated professional career.

Juve are level on points with leaders Inter at the summit and head coach Maurizio Sarri is once again without injured quartet Douglas Costa, Federico Bernardeschi, Sami Khedira, Giorgio Chiellini and Merih Demiral.

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