Ronaldo double helps dethroned Juve rally to edge past Udinese
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 triumph.
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 earned this win with effort and pride, and it’s a very important one given the other results this afternoon.
“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.”
Juventus had trailed for most of the game in Udine after Nahuel Molina put Udinese ahead in the 10th minute, 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 over the follow-up.
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’s brace takes his Serie A-leading tally to 27 goals, six more than Inter’s Romelu Lukaku.
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.