Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 16 December 2019

Cristiano Ronaldo strikes to earn Juventus a draw against Sassuolo

Juve maintain unbeaten start to the season after trailing to goals from Jeremie Boga and Francesco Caputo

Inter Milan moved top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over struggling SPAL as Juventus were held to a draw at home by Sassuolo.

With Juve kicking off earlier yesterday, Antonio Conte’s Inter took advantage to usurp the perennial Italian champions at the top of the standings.

A first-half double from Lautaro Martinez secured a 13th win of the season for the Nerazzurri, who have now amassed 37 points from 14 matches.

Juve are a point further back, and needed a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty to salvage a point at home against a dogged Sassuolo.

Mexico striker Martinez scored his first on 16 minutes with a low shot before doubling his tally with a header four minutes before half time.

Mattia Valoti pulled one back for SPAL, but it was not enough to prevent a ninth league defeat of the season.

Juventus maintained their unbeaten league record thanks to Ronaldo’s fifth goal of the season to see off opponents looking for their first ever win against the Turin giants.

Leonardo Bonucci had put Juve ahead but the lead lasted two minutes as Jeremie Boga’s exquisite finish drew the visitors level.

Francesco Caputo took advantage of a mix-up in the Juventus defence to put Sassuolo ahead two minutes after the restart at the Allianz Arena.

Juve piled forward in search of an equaliser and their pressure was rewarded when Ronaldo converted from the spot after Filippo Romagna fouled substitute Paulo Dybala.

It ended the Portugal forward’s four-match goal drought and denied Sassuolo a first ever victory against Juve, although it was the first point they had take off their opponents in Turin.

A frustrated Maurizio Sarri blamed tired legs for Juve’s wayward performance.

“We put ourselves in difficulty, we lost our heads in the first half,” Sarri told Sky Italia.

“Every time we lost the ball we were wide open. After going behind we played at a good level for 40 minutes and could have even won the match.The games after a Champions League week are always difficult because of a lack of energy.”

It was a day to remember for Stefano Turati, the 18-year-old goalkeeper making his Sassuolo debut. The teenager pulled off a string of fine saves, denying Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Dybala late on.

But he was powerless to prevent Juve’s equaliser as Ronaldo sent him the wrong way from the spot on 68 minutes to end the prolific Portuguese’s four-game goal drought.

Lazio stayed third with a crushing victory over Udinese.

Serie A’s top scorer Ciro Imobile took his season’s tally to 17 with a brace before Luis Alberto made it 3-0 in first-half injury time.

A late Theo Hernandez goal secured all three points for AC Milan on their visit to Parma, moving them up to 11th.

Updated: December 1, 2019 07:58 PM

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