Juventus 2-0 Roma: Ronaldo on point as Bianconeri close in on Serie A leaders

By Sports Desk February 06, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated turning 36 in style as his early goal helped Juventus to see off Roma 2-0 in Saturday's Serie A contest.

A day after his 36th birthday, Ronaldo continued his stellar form in an exceptional performance at Allianz Stadium with a fantastic strike to open the scoring.

It was a match of few clear-cut chances – Roma failing to register an attempt on target until the 61st minute – though Ronaldo, who had all of Juve's three efforts, went close to a second when he rattled the crossbar.

A flurry of Roma pressure midway through the second half proved fruitless and, on the counter-attack, Juve had a decisive second when Ibanez turned into his own net.

Ronaldo avoided any risk of going four league games without a goal for the first time since 2017 as he thumped Juve ahead in the 13th minute, dispatching a left-footed snapshot into the right-hand corner.

Bryan Cristante was inches away from restoring parity in spectacular fashion seven minutes later – his wicked volley arrowing just wide.

The woodwork came to Roma's rescue in the 22nd minute, Ronaldo's deflected strike clattering down off the underside of the bar.

Ronaldo almost turned provider with an exquisite cross to Alex Sandro but the full-back was just unable to take it under control, before Pau Lopez denied Juve's rampant number seven.

With the onus on a toothless Roma attack, Juve frustrated their visitors after the restart, retaining 63 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Wojciech Szczesny was finally called into action just after the hour, easily dealing with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's dipping effort before making a routine stop from Carles Perez's volley.

Yet Roma's comeback hopes were swiftly ended – Ibanez only able to divert Dejan Kulusevski's cutback into Roma's net to seal a Juve win which moved them within five points of leaders Inter.
 

What does it mean? Juve back in the running

Inter beat Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday to move top of Serie A, though Milan will retake pole position if they overcome bottom side Crotone on Sunday.

Juve have a game in hand on both Milan clubs and, with the Bianconeri having kept three successive league clean sheets for the first time under Andrea Pirlo, who also has Ronaldo on top form, you would not bet against them going on to clinch a 10th straight Scudetto.

Age is just a number

In an Instagram post to mark his 36th birthday on Friday, Ronaldo said: "I'm sorry that I can't promise you 20 more years of this."

While two more decades is beyond the reach of even the superhuman Ronaldo, the Portugal captain displayed his remarkable quality in another inspired showing. He has now scored 16 times across 17 Serie A appearances this season, while he has been directly involved in more goals than any other player (84) since making his debut in the competition.

Roma blunted

With Edin Dzeko starting on the bench after failing to secure a move away in the transfer window, Roma lacked a focal point until the forward's introduction just after the hour.

Paulo Fonseca's side had scored seven times in their previous two league outings yet had to wait over an hour for their first attempt on target and never truly came close to testing Szczesny, despite ending with 14 efforts on goal.

What's next?

Juve have a Coppa Italia semi-final second leg coming up on Tuesday, with Pirlo's team holding a 2-1 advantage over Inter. Roma, meanwhile, host Udinese a week on Sunday in their next league game.

Related items

  • LeBron ruled out of 76ers game due to knee soreness LeBron ruled out of 76ers game due to knee soreness

    LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' clash with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday due to left knee soreness.

    Lakers head coach Frank Vogel revealed pre-game that the 37-year-old four-time MVP had woken up with soreness and would not face the in-form 76ers, who are 28-19.

    James has been in excellent scoring form lately, averaging 29.1 points, shooting 52.2 per cent from the field and 35.2 per cent beyond the arc across the season.

    The veteran superstar has scored 25 points or more in each of the Lakers' past 18 games, dating back to mid-December. Only once – in 21 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 – has he enjoyed a longer such streak.

    James has averaged an astonishing 32.5 points over this period, although the Lakers have gone 8-10.

    "He’s out tonight," Vogel said of his star man on Thursday. "Just woke up with some soreness that was enough to hold him out. He’ll be day-to-day."

    James had only just reunited with Anthony Davis on the court, with the All-Star forward returning from an MCL sprain in Tuesday's 106-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

    Besides scoring 29.1 points per game, up on his career average of 27.1, James is averaging 6.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds this season.

  • Ecuador 1-1 Brazil: Alisson's stoppage-time VAR reprieve spares Selecao in chaotic draw Ecuador 1-1 Brazil: Alisson's stoppage-time VAR reprieve spares Selecao in chaotic draw

    Alisson was given a stoppage-time VAR reprieve after conceding a penalty as Brazil somehow clung on to a 1-1 draw against Ecuador in a chaotic World Cup qualifying classic.

    Felix Torres equalised with 15 minutes to go and Ecuador looked set to grab the win that would put them on the brink of qualification when awarded a last-gasp penalty, but that opportunity was taken away in an ending that befitted the remarkable 90 minutes that preceded it.

    The first half saw the red card brandished three times – the first two, for Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez and Brazil right-back Emerson Royal, were decisions that remained, but Alisson's was overturned.

    All the controversy somewhat overshadowed Casemiro's early goal, which looked likely to be the winner given Ecuador had a goal wiped out and a penalty decision reversed soon after the restart, before Torres headed in.

    Alisson was then sent off again, but for the second time his dismissal was overturned and Ecuador were denied their late spot-kick.

  • Inter complete signing of Robin Gosens from Atalanta Inter complete signing of Robin Gosens from Atalanta

    Robin Gosens has completed a move to Inter from Atalanta on loan with an obligation to buy for a reported €25million.

    Gosens signed for Atalanta in 2017 from Dutch outfit Heracles for just over €1m and made over 150 appearances for the Bergamo club in all competitions, scoring 29 goals and assisting 20.

    The Germany international is believed to have already agreed a four-and-a-half year deal with the Nerazzurri, and told the club's official website that he is eager to get going.

    "I'm so proud to have joined one of the biggest clubs in Europe. I'm thrilled to be here and can't wait to get started."

     

    The 27-year-old also mentioned his connection to Alessandro Bastoni, who he is reunited with once against having previously played with him at Atalanta.

    "We've been speaking almost every day, not just now," Gosens added. "Even two or three years ago, he told me it was a great club and how proud you feel to play for Inter.

    "It wasn't a difficult decision for me. I didn't need any convincing because I also know it's a huge club. He told me about the club's history, the team, the way you work here and I'm pleased to have spoken to him."

    Gosens has spent a large part of this season on the sidelines with a muscle injury, but scored 11 times in Serie A last season despite playing the majority of games at left wing-back.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.