Ronaldo helps ease Juventus past SPAL and top Serie A
Cristiano Ronaldo returned from an injury scare to score as Juventus eased past struggling SPAL 2-0 and took top spot in Serie A on Saturday.
Ronaldo notched up his third consecutive goal at home this season after 78 minutes in Turin to add to Miralem Pjanic’s opener just before the break.
Juventus have 16 points from six games, one ahead of Inter — the only team with maximum points — before their game at Sampdoria later on Saturday.
Ronaldo was rested for the midweek win over Brescia as a precaution with a slight muscular problem ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen in Turin and next weekend’s clash with Inter at the San Siro.
The damage could have been worse for SPAL, who achieved just their second ever win over the Turin giants last April, but for some fine saves from Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.
Berisha, on-loan from Atalanta this season, got his hand to deny Paulo Dybala’s curling goal-bound effort just after half an hour, and then parried a point-blank Aaron Ramey header off a Ronaldo cross in front of goal.
Pjanic had a shot cleared off the line before connecting with a Sami Khedira assist to fire in from a distance for his second goal of the season after the winner at Brescia midweek.
Dybala set up Ronaldo for the second with the Portuguese star’s downward header beating Berisha, after he had been frustrated in two earlier efforts.
Berisha again proved solid as he again denied Ronaldo in the hosts’ final attack of the game.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon meanwhile was unworried at the other end of the pitch as he made his 903rd club football appearance, surpassing the Italian record of 902 achieved by AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini.