Cristiano Ronaldo Scores as Juventus Beat SPAL 2-0 in Serie A Match

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2018

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 24: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Serie A match between Juventus and SPAL at Allianz Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)
Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo helped Juventus to a 2-0 win over SPAL in Serie A on Saturday by opening the scoring for the league leaders at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. 

Mario Mandzukic added a second after an hour to maintain the Bianconeri's unbeaten start to the league campaign.

Juve played in second gear for most of the opening half, taking until the 28th minute to go in front. It was hardly a surprise when Ronaldo put his name on the scoresheet after reacting quickest to Miralem Pjanic's deft free-kick.

The goal was enough to give Ronaldo a club record even this early in his career with the Bianconeri:

Arjun Pradeep @IndianRegista

Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 10 goals for Juventus in all competitions. He achieved this in 1317 minutes. Quicker to reach this figure than non-Italians like Orsi, Sívori, Platini, Trézéguet and Higuaín. https://t.co/25qi812wfL

Pjanic pulled the strings for everything good Juve did going forward. His vision and enterprising distribution helped put wide men Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa in behind more than once.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international has been growing in confidence since Ronaldo's arrival, and his assist added to his impressive recent form for both club and country:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Most key passes in League B of the UEFA Nations League: Group 1⃣ -- Borek Dockal 🇨🇿 (10) Group 2⃣ -- Ludwig Augustinsson 🇸🇪 (8) Group 3⃣ -- Miralem Pjanic 🇧🇦 (9) Group 4⃣ -- Martin Braithwaite 🇩🇰 (8) https://t.co/VvdlddRbX0 https://t.co/QyvKN9a9Rz

JuventusFC @juventusfcen

One assist and 95% passing accuracy in the first half from @Miralem_Pjanic 🎩👌 #JuveSPAL #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve https://t.co/0XBJE8uFVw

Pjanic's radar helped him tee up Costa five minutes after the break, only for the Brazilian to see his effort clip the post.

Juve didn't rue the near-miss for long, though. Captain for the day Mandzukic made the points safe on the hour mark when he tapped in after Costa saw another shot saved.

Like many in the squad, Mandzukic has been boosted by Ronaldo's arrival:

B/R Football @brfootball

Mario Mandzukic: A striker reborn 🔥 https://t.co/rT0anuqjkq

A two-goal cushion allowed Juve to saunter through the closing stages and conserve strength for Tuesday's game with Valencia in Group H of the UEFA Champions League.

Manager Massimiliano Allegri appeared aware of the need to marshal his resources when he subbed the lively Costa for midfield man Blaise Matuidi with 18 minutes left. Allegri could have rested some of his stars on a day when Juve barely had to play above first gear to bank three more points in their bid for yet another title.

The Bianconeri will have to play better to win the Champions League for the first time since 1996, but this squad again looks without equal in the Italian top flight.


What's Next

Juve host Valencia in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday, while SPAL are at home to Empoli on Saturday.