Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus Earn 3-1 Serie A Win over CagliariNovember 3, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus took a six-point lead over Inter Milan and Napoli in Serie A by beating Cagliari 3-1 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Paulo Dybala scored in the first minute, while an own goal by Filip Bradaric restored Juve's lead after Joao Pedro had equalised for the visitors. Ronaldo helped cap the scoring by playing Juan Cuadrado into net for the Bianconeri's third.
Douglas Costa Is the Best Supply Line to Ronaldo
Douglas Costa started for only the second time this season, but he wasted no time proving how important he is to the Juventus front three.
Specifically, Costa is an ideal supply line to Ronaldo thanks to the width he provides.
As a natural winger, Costa can work the flanks and knows how to tease testing deliveries into the box. Those deliveries suit Ronaldo, who has developed into perhaps the ultimate penalty box king in recent seasons.
The 33-year-old has become a prolific goal-hanger as his career has progressed. He now saves energy by making fewer runs from deep and instead staying central, where he can do the most damage.
Costa's connection with Ronaldo nearly paid dividends for the latter when he struck the post in first-half stoppage time after being played in by Costa. It was also Costa's cross into a central area Bradaric turned into his own net after 38 minutes.
Juan Cuadrado replaced Costa at the break, and it was noticeable how much Ronaldo struggled to get involved during the second half.
Even so, Costa has done enough to prove he merits more starts to help forge what should be a prolific rapport with Ronaldo.
Wojciech Szczesny Is No Longer Wasting His Talent
He was an often frustrating figure when he tended goal for Arsenal, but Wojciech Szczesny is finally adding consistency to his game. It means the mercurial Poland international is no longer wasting his talent with erratic displays and inexplicable errors.
Always a fine shot-stopper, Szczesny proved his worth when he brilliantly rebuffed an effort from forward Leonardo Pavoletti:
The spectacular has never been a problem for Szczesny, but he has become calmer and more assured since moving to Turin. Those qualities come with experience and also offer the best means for Szczesny to at last realise his full potential.
Szczesny has taken to the daunting task of replacing club legend Gianluigi Buffon between the sticks. The early evidence this season indicates the 28-year-old is now ready to join the bracket of the game's elite keepers.
Juve host Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday before a trip to take on AC Milan at the San Siro on Nov. 11.
Meanwhile, Cagliari face SPAL away on Saturday.