Ron­aldo penalty dou­ble lifts Ju­ven­tus

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - SPORTS -

MI­LAN: Cris­tiano Ron­aldo stretched his scor­ing streak to nine con­sec­u­tive league games with a penalty dou­ble Sun­day as Serie A lead­ers Ju­ven­tus bounced back from last week­end’s de­feat to Napoli with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina.

Lazio moved sec­ond five points be­hind the reign­ing cham­pi­ons af­ter Serie A top scorer Ciro Im­mo­bile and Felipe Caicedo both scored a brace in a 5-1 win over rock bot­tom SPAL.

Ron­aldo slot­ted in both his goals from the spot in ei­ther half in Turin with Dutch de­fender Matthijs de Ligt head­ing in a third in in­jury time.

Ju­ven­tus had fallen to just their sec­ond de­feat of the sea­son last week­end at Sarri’s for­mer club Napoli, de­spite Ron­aldo scor­ing.

“Cris­tiano Ron­aldo con­tin­ues to score re­peat­edly and for him it’s im­por­tant psy­cho­log­i­cally,” said Sarri of the player who turns 35 years old next Wed­nes­day. “Phys­i­cally he’s good and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.”

Fiorentina, in 14th po­si­tion, have had a resur­gence since Giuseppe Ia­chini took over on Dec. 24, but suf­fered their first league de­feat this year.

Club pres­i­dent Rocco Com­misso was fu­ri­ous at the penalty de­ci­sions.

“I am dis­gusted with what I saw to­day,” blasted the Ital­ian-born U.S. busi­ness­man who bought the Tus­cany club last year. “Juve are very strong, a team with a wage bill of 350 mil­lion doesn’t need help. Ref­er­ees can­not de­cide matches.

Fiorentina tested Ju­ven­tus goal­keeper Wo­j­ciech Szczesny early with the Pole get­ting his hand to Fed­erico Chiesa’s back-heel kick and a Pol Lirola ef­fort.

Fel­low Pole Bart­lomiej Dragowski de­nied Ro­drigo Ben­tan­cur at the other end be­fore a VAR re­view con­firmed Fiorentina’s Ger­man Pezzella had han­dled the ball in the area.

Five-time Bal­lon d’Or win­ner Ron­aldo made no mis­take, slot­ting in five min­utes be­fore the break.

His sec­ond came 10 min­utes from time for a dis­puted Fed­erico Cec­cherini foul on Ben­tan­cur.

Ron­aldo made it 14 goals in nine games to bring his tally to 19 this sea­son, in­clud­ing seven penal­ties.

The for­mer Real Madrid player has now scored 50 goals in 70 games since mov­ing to Ju­ven­tus in 2018.

He also be­comes the first Ju­ven­tus player to achieve a run of goals in nine con­sec­u­tive league games since David Trezeguet in De­cem­ber 2005.

De Ligt nod­ded in a Paulo Dy­bala cross in stop­page time for his first goal for Ju­ven­tus at the Al­lianz Sta­dium, as Ia­chini fell to his first league de­feat with the Tus­cany side.

Ron­aldo is sec­ond only this sea­son to Im­mo­bile, who has scored 25 goals, in­clud­ing two Sun­day as Lazio kept their push for their first Serie A ti­tle since 2000 alive.

Im­mo­bile got Lazio off the mark vol­ley­ing in af­ter just three min­utes, with Caicedo fin­ish­ing off a re­bound less than quar­ter of an hour later.

Im­mo­bile’s sec­ond came be­fore the half hour with a de­flected shot and he played a role in Caicedo’s sec­ond seven min­utes be­fore the break.

Sub­sti­tute Bobby Adekanye came on af­ter the break with the for­mer Liver­pool player tap­ping in his first Serie A goal af­ter an hour with Si­mone Mis­siroli pulling a goal back for SPAL.

Ron­aldo made it 14 goals in nine games to bring his tally to 19 this sea­son, in­clud­ing seven penal­ties.

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