Cristiano Ronaldo Brace Gives Juventus 2-1 Win vs. Parma

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 19, 2020

Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his second goal during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Parma on January 19, 2020 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace on Sunday as Juventus beat Parma 2-1 to move four points clear of Inter Milan at the top of Serie A.

The Portugal international's deflected strike wrongfooted goalkeeper Luigi Sepe and handed the hosts the lead two minutes before half-time.

Parma hit back after the break when substitute Andreas Cornelius sent a glancing header past Wojciech Szczesny to make it 1-1 after 55 minutes.

Yet the hosts responded impressively and restored their lead three minutes later. Paulo Dybala sent Ronaldo through on goal to score his 16th Serie A goal of the season.

Juve boss Maurizio Sarri left Gonzalo Higuain on the bench, starting Dybala, Ronaldo and Aaron Ramsey in attack, while Parma brought in Matteo Scozzarella for Alberto Grassi.

The hosts enjoyed the better chances in the first half in Turin. Alex Sandro headed Dybala's cross on to the roof of the net inside seven minutes but was then forced off with injury midway through the opening 45 minutes and replaced by Danilo.

Ronaldo then missed two chances to break the deadlock. The 34-year-old sat Riccardo Gagliolo down but was denied by Sepe and then sent a header over the crossbar.

Mistakes started to creep into Juventus' play as half-time approached, and they needed a slice of luck to take the lead. Ronaldo cut in from the left and went for goal but saw his shot take a heavy deflection on its way into the back of the net:

Juventus came close to doubling their lead five minutes after half-time. Danilo approached the penalty area before letting fly with a fierce effort that Sepe managed to tip on to the woodwork.

The save brought the game to life as Parma equalised four minutes later. Cornelius rose highest to head a fine cross from Scozzarella into the top corner.

Yet the visitors were not level for long as Juve hit straight back. Dybala sent Ronaldo through on goal with an inch-perfect pass, and the Portuguese slid his second of the night across goal and past Sepe:

Parma did test Szczesny in the closing stages as they sought an equaliser. The Juventus goalkeeper saved from Jasmin Kurtic and Hernani, while the hosts also needed Matthijs de Ligt to make an important block on Mattia Sprocati in the final minutes.

However, Sarri's men did enough to hold on to the three points to earn some breathing space at the top of the table. The defending champions were not at their best on Sunday, but Ronaldo's continuing brilliance was enough to secure the win.

     

What's Next?

Juventus play Roma on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia and travel to Napoli on Sunday in Serie A. Parma's next fixture is against Udinese on Sunday in Serie A.

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