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Cristiano Ronaldo Late Brace Rescues Dethroned Juventus vs Udinese in Serie A

Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo Credit: AP)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo Credit: AP)

Serie A 2020-21: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus beat Udinese to get a crucial win in their pursuit for Champions League football next season.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice late to rescue a 2-1 win for Juventus at Udinese on Sunday hours after the Turin giants lost their Serie A crown to Inter Milan. Inter broke Juve’s nine-year streak of domestic dominance by clinching their 19th ‘Scudetto’ after nearest rivals Atalanta drew 1-1 at Sassuolo to leave the ‘Nerazzurri’ 13 points clear with four games remaining. Antonio Conte’s side had needed just one point to take the title regardless of how Atalanta fared after their 2-0 win at Crotone on Saturday, and have denied Juve a 10th consecutive league title. Juve’s win moves them up to third as they target a Champions League spot, but are equal on 69 points with second-placed Atalanta and AC Milan in fourth.

Napoli are two points behind in fifth after a 1-1 draw against Cagliari while Lazio are still in the running, five points off a top-four finish with a game in hand after an exciting 4-3 win over Genoa.

“The nine years are over, we will no longer have the Scudetto attached to the shirt, but we will start again with the same desire as before," said Juve coach Andrea Pirlo.

“We lost points against teams that we should have beaten, sometimes naively, we let Inter escape and now we are focused on reaching the Champions League."

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Juventus had trailed for most of the game in Udine after Nahuel Molina put Udinese ahead in the 10th minutes, blasting in off a quickly taken Rodrigo De Paul free kick while Juventus players were still protesting.

Weston McKennie missed a chance to level for the away side before the half hour mark when he sent a diving header wide.

Matthijs de Ligt had a shot charged down with Ronaldo nodding the follow-up over.

The equaliser came with seven minutes to go after De Paul conceded a penalty for handball from a Ronaldo free kick, with the Portuguese forward making no mistake from the penalty spot.

Four minutes later he grabbed the winner when he headed home an Adrien Rabiot cross with relieved coach Andrea Pirlo racing to join the celebrations.

Ronaldo brings his Serie A-leading tally to 27 goals, six more than Inter’s Romelu Lukaku.

ATALANTA HOLD ON FOR A POINT

In Emilia-Romagna, Atalanta played most of the match a man down after goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini saw red after 22 minutes at the Mapei Stadium.

Atalanta’s Robin Gosens scored 10 minutes after Gollini’s sending off for recklessly bringing down Jeremie Boga.

Domenico Berardi pulled Sassuolo level from the penalty spot seven minutes after the break after Hamed Traore went down in the penalty box under pressure from Rafael Toloi.

Sassuolo also played the final quarter of an hour with 10 men after Brazilian defender Marlon was sent off for a second yellow card, but goalkeeper Andrea Consigli saved Muriel’s penalty to hand Inter the title.

In Naples, Nahitan Nandez got a late equaliser for Cagliari to cancel out Victor Osimhen’s 13th-minute opener.

Napoli are still in the running for the Champions League while Cagliari move one point clear of the relegation zone.

Lazio’s thrilling victory over Genoa secured a club-record 11th consecutive win.

Joaquin Correa scored a brace, breaking the deadlock after half an hour and striking again 11 minutes after the break.

Ciro Immobile added the second from the penalty spot before half-time after an Ivan Radovanovic foul.

Genoa made a triple substitution after the break and got back into the game when under-pressure Lazio defender Adam Marusic turned into his own net.

Luis Alberto curled in a third for the hosts just after with Correa then making it 4-1.

The hosts survived a late scare as Genoa fought back with Gianluca Scamacca slotting in a penalty with 10 minutes to go and Eldor Shomurodov blasting in another goal almost immediately afterwards.

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first published:May 03, 2021, 11:07 IST