MILAN (REUTERS, AFP) - Cristiano Ronaldo at last broke his Juventus duck in his fourth game when he scored a brace on Sunday (Sept 16) to give them a 2-1 win over Sassuolo in Serie A, although the Turin side’s day was marred by a red card for Douglas Costa for spitting at an opponent.
The five-time world player of the year opened his account in the easiest possible fashion by tapping into an empty net from less than two metres in the 50th minute.
The Portuguese added another in the 65th minute, when he finished off a counter-attack by drilling a low-angled shot beyond Andrea Consigli and into the far corner with his left foot.
After Ronaldo missed two good chances for a hat-trick, Khouma Babacar headed one back in the 90th minute but could not prevent Sassuolo from falling to their first defeat of the season.
Costa became involved in a running feud with Sassuolo midfielder Federico di Francesco.
The Brazilian escaped with a booking for elbowing and then head-butting his rival as they tangled before the Sassuolo goal but was then sent off after video cameras caught him spitting at the same player in another altercation.
Juventus, chasing an eighth successive Serie A title, have 12 points, three ahead of Napoli. Earlier, Roma squandered a two-goal lead when they were held 2-2 at home by lowly Chievo.
Ronaldo was the star signing of the summer transfer period, arriving amid great pomp and ceremony following a €100 million (S$160 million) deal from Real Madrid.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri had said before the match he was not concerned that Ronaldo has failed to find the net despite 23 shots at goal in the team’s three wins out of three.
“I don’t expect Ronaldo to do more or less than what he did in the first three games,” said Allegri. “I believe tomorrow could be his day.”
Ronaldo scored 44 goals for Real last season, including 15 in the Champions League on the way to a third straight title.
Bolstered by five-time winner Ronaldo, Juventus begin their quest for the Champions League title, which has eluded them for two decades, in Valencia on Wednesday.
The Turin giants won the European title in 1985 and 1996, but finished runners-up twice to Barcelona and Real in 2015 and 2017 respectively, under current coach Allegri..