Turin, October 20: Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the fourth Serie A home game in succession as Juventus claimed a 2-1 victory over Bologna on Saturday (October 19) despite some late drama.
The Portugal forward has netted in all of Juve's home league fixtures this season and opened the scoring with a typically clinical finish.
Bologna levelled with a sumptuous half-volley from full-back Danilo before Miralem Pjanic restored Juve's advantage after some poor defending by the visitors.
Late in the game, the visitors had a penalty appeal for handball against Matthijs de Ligt turned down and hit the crossbar, while Gianluigi Buffon made a fine late save as Juve moved four points clear at the top of the table.
Ronaldo was presented with a special award by Juventus before kick-off having scored his 700th career goal while on international duty and it did not take him long to add to that tally.
A move which began at the back culminated in cross-field pass in Ronaldo's direction which Bologna's Ladislav Krejci only managed to divert into the path of the Juventus man.
Ronaldo created a shooting angle with a stepover on the right edge of the penalty area, and then struck a powerful low effort which beat goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski at his near post.
However, Bologna got themselves back on level terms with a fine strike from full-back Danilo.
The Brazilian defender controlled a high ball on his chest before he struck a sweet half-volley which left Buffon grasping at thin air.
Juventus went through the gears after the interval and were ahead again after some lacklustre defending when Bologna failed to clear their lines.
The ball pinged around the edge of the area before dropping into the path of Pjanic, who steered a low shot into the corner of the net.
Sinisa Mihajlovic's side appealed for a penalty in the dying minutes when the ball struck De Ligt on the arm, but VAR backed up referee Massimiliano Irrati's decision not to award the spot-kick.
Buffon then made a brilliant save to deny substitute Federico Santander after his initial head came back off the bar, with the veteran goalkeeper then pushing a spectacular overhead kick from the Paraguayan over the top in the game's final act.
What does it mean? Relentless Juve in pole position
The Juventus machine rolls on. After a 2-1 win over Inter before the international break, which saw the Bianconeri leapfrog their rivals into first place, the Italian champions tightened their grip on top spot.
For Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri it has been a case of 'if it isn't broke, don't try to fix it' and although his side lacked some of their usual swagger, they had too much quality for Bologna.
Juve are four points clear of Inter and the clinical manner in which they are able to win games means they are going to take some stopping in Serie A this season
Ronaldo sparkles again
Another game, another goal. Ronaldo has been in wonderful form for both club and country recently and at 34 shows no signs of letting up.
He was full of flicks and tricks, and scored a goal which owed much to his ability to shoot from improbable positions as the power he can generate with his shot.
Palacio fails to make an impact
At 37, Rodrigo Palacio's career is firmly in its twilight but Bologna needed more from the veteran Argentina forward against such dominant opposition.
Palacio struggled to make an impact up front, and was unable to hold on to the ball when Bologna desperately needed a breather.
Key Opta Facts
- Pjanic has scored more goals in the 2019-20 campaign (eight games played) than in 2018-19 (two goals in 31 games).
- In the three-points-for-a-win era (since 1994-95) only Vincenzo Montella (31 games), Ronaldo (32), Diego Milito (33) and Andriy Shevchenko (33) have scored 25 Serie A goals quicker than Cristiano Ronaldo (38).
- Ronaldo has scored at least one goal against 17 out of the 20 Serie A opponents he has faced in Serie A.
- In four out of the five games they have conceded in this Serie A campaign, Juventus have shipped a goal with the first shot on target they have faced.
Juventus host Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday (October 22) before an away trip to Lecce next Saturday. Bologna are next in action a week on Sunday when they welcome Sampdoria to the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara a week on Sunday (October 27).