ROME: After all these years and all those goals Cristiano Ronaldo’s trademark step-over move remains as effective as ever.
The latest victim was Bologna defender Mattia Bani, who was fooled by the five-time Ballon d’Or winner for Juve’s opening goal in a 2-1 win Saturday.
After taking an unintended assist from another defender, Ronaldo quickly got by Bani with an abbreviated version of his most famous trick, then unleashed a long, bouncing shot into the near corner.
While Bani was left wondering what happened, Ronaldo was rushing towards the corner flag, dropping to his knees in a sliding celebration.
The celebrations didn’t last long, however, as Bologna quickly equalised with an almost-as-impressive goal from Danilo, who half-volleyed past Gianluigi Buffon to finish off a slick team effort.
Miralem Pjanic won it for Juventus after the break, taking advantage of several failed clearances to score from the edge of the area.
“We are playing very well with this new 4-3-1-2 formation, the team is enjoying its football,” Pjanic said. “We just need to kill games off earlier so that we’re not under pressure at the end.”
Ronaldo could have scored a couple more but for excellent saves from Lukasz Skorupski.
Buffon then preserved the advantage in stoppage time with a difficult stop on a bicycle-kick from Federico Santander, who had hit the crossbar with his first effort.
The defending champions are now four points clear of second-placed Inter Milan, who have a game in hand.
Atalanta stay third after throwing away a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Lazio, with fourth-placed Napoli closing the gap to just one point after Arkadiusz Milik’s double saw off Verona.
“The road is the right one, but we need to work on some details. It was a good match blighted by three or four errors,” said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri whose side host Lokomotiv Moscow in Champions League action on Tuesday.
Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic returned to the bench in Turin after his second course of chemotherapy as he battles cancer.
Serie A leading scorer Ciro Immobile’s late brace of penalties helped Lazio wipe out a three-goal deficit in a thrilling draw with Atalanta.
Atalanta, who travel to Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, had led 3-0 with 21 minutes to go at the Stadio Olimpico.
But Immobile scored from the spot on 69 minutes and less than 60 seconds later set up Joaquin Correa for the second, before capping the comeback two minutes into injury time with his ninth goal in eight league games this term.
“With penalties, nobody can understand a thing nowadays,” blasted Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini. Immobile went for a walk, felt someone touch him slightly and dived. Even more, on the second penalty, Immobile put his foot in front of De Roon.”
Colombian Luis Muriel scored a first-half double for the Bergamo side as compatriot and star striker Duvan Zapata was sidelined injured.
Alejandro Gomez got the third eight minutes before the break in a rematch of last season’s Italian Cup final which the Romans won.
But the visitors lost momentum after the hour mark.
Immobile got one back from the spot after being brought down by Jose Luis Palomino and then combined with Correa for their second.
Immobile earned a late penalty after a Marten de Roon foul, celebrating wildly after converting to grab a dramatic point before Lazio’s Europa League trip to Celtic next week.
“I’m losing years of my life kicking penalties in the 90th minute,” said 29-year-old Immobile, after scoring his third league goal from the spot this season.
Polish striker Milik scored in either half as Napoli got back to winning ways at the Stadio San Paolo, after a goalless draw at Torino before the international break, before their Champions League trip to Salzburg.
“I started the season with fitness problems so I’m hungry now for goals,” said Milik, who also scored as Poland qualified for Euro 2020 during the week.
Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret made a series of difficult saves early on before Milik scored in the 37th minute by redirecting a cross from Fabian Ruiz from close range.
Milik’s second also came from close range, as he redirected an accurate free kick from Lorenzo Insigne into the roof of the net.
Dries Mertens nearly made it 3-0 but a late effort from the Belgium international hit the post.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2019