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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Aaron Ramsey, Cristiano Ronaldo put Juventus top in Serie A

Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon returned to the Juventus goal after spending a season in Paris Saint-Germain to match Paolo Maldini’s Italian record of 902 club matches.

football Updated: Sep 22, 2019 09:25 IST
AFP
AFP
Milan
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal.
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their second goal.(REUTERS)
         

Aaron Ramsey’s first Juventus goal on his maiden start and Cristiano Ronaldo’s spot-kick winner saw the Italian champions seal a comeback 2-1 win over Verona on Saturday that put them top of Serie A ahead of the Milan derby. Welsh international Ramsey pulled Juventus level in the 31st minute in Turin in reply to Miguel Veloso’s early Verona goal, with a well-taken Ronaldo penalty ensuring all three points for the hosts just after the break. It got Maurizio Sarri’s side back to winning ways after last weekend’s Serie A stalemate at Fiorentina and a 2-2 Champions League draw at Atletico Madrid midweek.

“After the Champions League the team was tired, but the important thing was to win. Let’s take these three points and go ahead,” said Ronaldo. Sarri’s side move one point ahead of Inter Milan at the top of the table before Antonio Conte’s side play city rivals AC Milan later on Saturday.

Italian goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon returned to the Juventus goal after spending a season in Paris Saint-Germain to match Paolo Maldini’s Italian record of 902 club matches.

Buffon’s appearances have been spread across three clubs -- Parma, Juventus and PSG -- with Maldini having spent his entire career with Serie A rivals Milan.

But the 41-year-old -- who played his last game for Juventus also against Verona in May 2018 -- could not keep a clean sheet and was beaten by Veloso after 21 minutes.

Amid confusion in front of the Juve goal after Simone Di Carmine missed a Verona penalty, and Darko Lazovic’s rebound rattled the bar, Veloso pounced to rifle a long range strike past Buffon.

But Ramsey got the champions back on level terms 10 minutes later on his full debut after coming on late against Atletico, with a deflected effort past Verona goalkeeper Marco Silvestri.

Ronaldo put Juventus ahead from the spot with just his second goal this season three minutes after the restart, having missed two chances before the break.

Verona kept pushing with Buffon denying Mattia Zaccagni and Lazovic in front of goal after 89 minutes and Veloso denied a brace by the post.

Juve held on to take the three points with a Ronaldo free-kick hitting the opposition’s wall in the last chance of the game after Verona defender Marash Kumbulla was sent off for a second yellow card.

“This is a team under construction,” said Sarri, who took over from Massimiliano Allegri ahead of this season.

“The defensive line obviously needs to improve.”

Verona are 12th with four points from as many games.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli travel south to promoted Lecce on Sunday after seeing off European champions Liverpool 2-0 on Tuesday.

First Published: Sep 22, 2019 09:25 IST

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