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Juventus beat Lazio 2-1 in Serie A

Juventus beat Lazio 2-1 in Serie A
Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo in action during their Serie A match against Lazio.
Rome, Jul 21 (IANS) | Publish Date: 7/21/2020 9:57:01 AM IST

The race for the Scudetto seems a foregone conclusion as Juventus run away with the league after beating Lazio 2-1 in a highly-anticipated showdown in the ongoing Serie A competition.

The competition for the top-scorer became intense as Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday bagged a brace and Ciro Immobile also managed to get on the scoresheet. The two strikers are the league’s joint top-scorers with 30 goals each, reports Xinhua news agency.

Lazio challenged Juventus for a long time this season, and were only point behind the Bianconeri before the suspension of Serie A. However, with a poor run after the restart, the Biancocelesti slipped to fourth place.

Both sides had an opportunity to score in the first half as Alex Sandro’s header smacked the upright while Immobile’s screamer also rattled the woodwork.

Juventus almost found the net straight after the break when Paulo Dybala’s attempt was blocked, and Ronaldo’s follow-up was cleared off the line.

The Old Lady broke the deadlock in the 51st minute when Ronaldo’s strike hit Bastos’ arm, the referee awarded Juventus a penalty after viewing the VAR, and Ronaldo converted it, becoming the first player to score at least 50 goals in the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A respectively.

The home side quickly rode the momentum three minutes later when Luiz Felipe’s error sparked a counter-attack, Dybala surged forward, flicking the ball to a totally unmarked Ronaldo to tap in from a close range.

The Aquile pulled one goal back through a penalty after Leonardo Bonucci brought down Immobile, and the Italian international kept his cool to convert it.

Juventus now lead the table with 80 points, eight points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan with four rounds remaining, which means the Bianconeri only need four points to capture their ninth consecutive Scudetto.

With Atalanta hosting Bologna and Inter welcoming Fiorentina to San Siro on Wednesday, Juve will know whether they can win the title at Udinese on Thursday, when Cagliari are the visitors to Lazio.

Ronaldo world-class in his mind and legs, says coach Sarri

Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said that star striker Cristiano Ronaldo is “world-class in his mind and legs.” 

“When Cristiano smells blood… He’s extraordinary, as he recovers so quickly between games,” Juve head coach Sarri told Sky Sport Italia. “It’s not just physical, but psychological.

“He could be someone who uses up so much energy in each game, but he recovers it every time and he’s world class in the mind as well as the legs.”

The brace against Lazio took Ronaldo’s tally to 30 league goals for the season. The Serie A record is 36 - reached by Gonzalo Higuain with Napoli in 2015-16 - and when asked if Ronaldo could eclipse the number, Sarri said: “If he puts his mind to something, he’s very difficult to stop.

“We’ll see if we should rest him over the next few rounds, but if he’s still in this shape, then he might not need it.” Ronaldo however maintained that it is the team’s success that is important to him and not his own individual records. Juventus are now clear of second placed Inter, chasing a ninth successive league title. “Records are always important, but the important thing is that the team wins,” Ronaldo told Sky Sport Italia.

 

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