MILAN: Juventus extended their lead in Serie A to 11 points after beating Fiorentina 3-0 on Saturday.
Rodrigo Bentancur and Giorgio Chiellini scored and Cristiano Ronaldo added a late penalty to condemn Fiorentina to their first defeat of the season.
Fiorentina dominated for large periods and tested Wojciech Szczesny several times before Juventus doubled their lead and essentially sealed the result.
“We have started a tough month, with difficult away matches, in the best way possible,” Chiellini said. “December will be important. At the end of the month we can do a first evaluation. But there’s still a long way to go until May.” Juventus appealed for a penalty in the 25th minute when Mattia De Sciglio’s cross hit Cristiano Biraghi’s trailing arm but, after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor, the referee ruled it unintentional.
The visitors took the lead shortly after and Ronaldo was again involved. The Portugal star took away two defenders with a clever run, allowing Bentancur to play a swift one-two with Paulo Dybala and finish into the bottom right corner.
Fiorentina fought hard for the equaliser and went close but Chiellini scored his first goal for two years in the 69th minute.
Juve’s second goal came from a rare source, but their third came from a natural goalscorer.
Fiorentina defender Vitor Hugo blocked Mario Mandzukic’s cross with his hand and Ronaldo stepped up to powerfully dispatch the resulting penalty. It was his 10th goal in his past 11 Serie A matches.In other matches, Spal managed to snatch a point against fellow strugglers Empoli despite being reduced to 10 men.
Spal were trailing 2-1 when Thiago Cionek was sent off in the 49th minute for a last-man foul on Antonino La Gumina.
However, Jasmin Kurtic headed in the equaliser in the 67th, his second goal of the match.
Andrea Poli and Gaston Ramirez scored against their former clubs but it was the latter who ended the night happier as Sampdoria crushed Bologna 4-1.
The result piles even more pressure on Bologna coach Filippo Inzaghi. Bologna are without a win since September and are a point from safety.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2018