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PIX: Ronaldo on target as Juve go 3rd; Varane strikes for Real

February 07, 2021 11:04 IST
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A summary of Saturday's action in Serie A and La Liga.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with teammates after scoring Juventus's opening goal in the Serie A match against AS Roma, at Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, on Saturday.

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with teammates after scoring Juventus's opening goal in the Serie A match against AS Roma, at Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy, on Saturday. Photograph: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo was on target as Juventus earned a 2-0 victory over AS Roma on Saturday to leapfrog their opponents and move into third place in the Serie A standings.

 

A day after turning 36, Ronaldo scored his first goal in four league games to give Juventus the lead in the 13th minute, drilling into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Ronaldo then thought he had scored another with his right, but saw his powerful effort come down off the underside of the crossbar, bounce down on the line and away from goal.

Roma did at least put some pressure on the hosts in the second half, but they could not create that killer chance, with an own goal from Roger Ibanez in the 69th minute sealing the win for Andrea Pirlo's side.

A sixth win in a row in all competitions moved Juve above Roma on to 42 points, two clear of their opponents and five behind leaders Inter Milan.

Before his double in Juve's 2-1 win at Inter in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on Tuesday, three games without a league goal represented something of a drought for Ronaldo, by his high standards.

The Portuguese had not gone four league games without scoring since 2017 when he was at Real Madrid, but the barren run was ended with a fine finish from the edge of the box.

Juan Cuadrado, Dejan Kulusevski, Alex Sandro, and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate following Juventus's second strike, an own goal by Ibanez of AS Roma (not pictured).

IMAGE: Juan Cuadrado, Dejan Kulusevski, Alex Sandro, and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate fwiht teammates ollowing Juventus's second strike, an own goal by Ibanez of AS Roma (not pictured). Photograph: Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Roma threatened on plenty of occasions in the match, having 14 shots at goal compared to the home side's three, but they did not seriously test Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Ronaldo was ready to pounce to put the game to bed before Ibanez got there first, poking Dejan Kulusevski's squared pass into his own net.

Elsewhere in Serie A on Saturday, Torino came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in a thriller at Atalanta.

When Luis Muriel scored his 12th league goal of the season after just 21 minutes to put his side 3-0 up, seventh-placed Atalanta looked to be on course for a comfortable win. However, goals from Andrea Belotti and Bremer got the visitors back in it before halftime.

It appeared the comeback would not be completed, however, as Torino struggled to find an equaliser, until substitute Federico Bonazzoli popped up with an 84th-minute leveller to snatch a point.

In another surprise result, struggling Spezia shocked Sassuolo with a 2-1 away win secured by an Emmanuel Gyasi winner in the 78th minute.

Varane double spares Real Madrid's blushes at Huesca

Raphael Varane  scores Real Madrid's second goal during the La Liga Santander match against SD Huesca

IMAGE: Raphael Varane scores Real Madrid's second goal during the La Liga Santander match against SD Huesca, at Estadio El Alcoraz, on Saturday. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane struck twice as his side came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at basement side Huesca in La Liga on Saturday and offer some respite to under-pressure coach Zinedine Zidane.

Huesca took a shock lead against the Spanish champions early in the second half with a vicious strike that went in off the post from Javi Galan and nearly doubled their advantage moments later when Rafa Mir struck the bar.

Real pulled level in the 55th minute when Karim Benzema thumped a free kick off the top of the bar and the ball bounced perfectly for Varane to head home from close range.

The France defender then struck the winner, bundling the ball over the line in the 84th following another free kick.

In Saturday's other La Liga fixtures, Alaves beat Valladolid 1-0, Levante drew 2-2 with Granada, Sevilla routed Getafe 3-0 and Elche and Villarreal drew 2-2. 

Zidane had lashed out at reporters in the build-up to the game against Huesca over speculation about his future in light of disappointing results but the win took his side second in the standings on 43 points, seven behind Atletico Madrid who have two games in hand.

"We were losing early in the second half so we had to show character and we kept believing until the end," said Varane.

"We had to suffer a lot but we got the win."

Real went into the game smarting from last week's shock home defeat by Levante plus a double injury blow as Eden Hazard suffered yet another setback by tearing a thigh muscle and Sergio Ramos had surgery to treat a knee problem.

Javi Galan  celebrates with teammates after scoring for SD Huesca.

IMAGE: Javi Galan celebrates with teammates after scoring for SD Huesca. Photograph: Alex Caparros/Getty Images

They were missing seven first team players and had to call upon reserves to fill the bench while throwing on inexperienced 20-year-old midfielder Marvin Park in the second half.

Huesca, who have only won two league games all season, gave Real two early scares as Shinji Okazaki and Mir came close to scoring and they were even more determined in the second half, with Mikel Rico's chip hitting the bar just before Galan struck.

Mir was unlucky not to double their lead when his volley came off the bar and he almost restored Huesca's advantage after Varane's leveller, forcing goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to leap to the top left corner to push his header away.

Benzema then wasted a glorious chance to give Real the lead when the ball fell to him at point-blank range, but the usually clinical forward fired straight at keeper Alvaro Fernandez.

Instead, it was another Frenchman in Varane who got the winner, reacting quickly to turn in Casemiro's header and temporarily ease the pressure on compatriot Zidane.

"Your character really shines through when the going gets tough," added Varane. "We're a strong team and we always fight for each other and we'll keep doing that until the end of the season."

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