By Joseph Aigbonosumua
A tearful Cristiano Ronaldo was controversially sent off as Juventus claimed a hard-fought win at Valencia.
The Portuguese forward, making his Champions League debut for Juve, appeared to grab Valencia defender Jeison Murillo’s hair as they tangled off the ball midway through the first half and referee Felix Brych consulted his assistant behind the goal before showing the five-time Champions League winner a straight red card.
Ten-man Juventus rallied and took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Miralem Pjanic scored from the penalty spot, and shortly after the break, the Bosnian midfielder stroked home another spot-kick.
Valencia were then awarded a penalty in stoppage time but Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny denied Daniel Parejo to preserve the Italians’ clean sheet, BBC reports.
Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win the Champions League in four of the last five seasons
It was an unhappy return to Spain for Ronaldo, who moved to Juve from Real Madrid for £99.2m in the summer.
His influence on the game was growing when he tried to latch onto a cross and was blocked off by a tumbling Murillo. He gesticulated to Murillo to get up and appeared to pull the defender’s hair before turning away in frustration.
Amid a hostile atmosphere, opposing players clashed in the box and the referee spoke with his assistant at length before producing a red card.
The Champions League’s record goalscorer was visibly furious, protesting his innocence but finally leaving the pitch in tears.
It was his first sending off in 154 Champions League appearances and he now faces at least a one-game ban.