Bologna 0-2 Juventus: Ronaldo scores as normal service resumes for champions

By Sports Desk June 22, 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo was on target as Juventus marked their return to Serie A action with a 2-0 win over Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on Monday.

Maurizio Sarri's side shrugged off the disappointment of their Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli last week, Ronaldo setting them on their way from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute in their first top-flight game since March 8.

Dybala added a superb second before half-time, whipping into the top corner from outside the penalty area, while Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi came close to adding further goals after the interval before Danilo was sent off in stoppage time.

The result moves the reigning champions four points clear of Lazio at the Serie A summit, although Simone Inzaghi's side will have the chance to cut the gap back to one point when they travel to Atalanta on Wednesday.

Juve started on the front foot, with Ronaldo forcing Lukasz Skorupski into a smart stop inside the opening 10 minutes.

The forward got the better of the Bologna goalkeeper midway through the opening period, though, slotting down the middle from the penalty spot after a VAR review deemed that Stefano Denswil pulled Matthijs de Ligt's shirt from a corner.

The visitors doubled their advantage in sumptuous style nine minutes before the break, Dybala sweeping into the top corner from 20 yards after a superb backheeled flick by Bernardeschi.

Ronaldo prodded wide shortly after the restart when clean through, while Bernardeschi crashed a 20-yard effort against the post moments later.

Juve were content to play out the second half at a pedestrian pace, though a Ronaldo effort fizzed past the post.

Ronaldo then saw a late strike ruled out for offside, while substitute Danilo received his marching orders in stoppage time after picking up a second booking for a foul on Musa Juwara.

 

What does it mean? Bianconeri back to their best

Juve had failed to score in both of their Coppa Italia matches since returning to action following the lengthy absence caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

They were back to their ruthless best against Sinisa Mihajlovic's side, however, putting the game to bed by half-time thanks to Ronaldo and a sublime strike from Dybala.

Dybala too hot to handle

The Argentina international was a handful for the Bologna defence throughout, bamboozling them with incisive movement and an array of smart touches. His eighth league goal of the season was one to savour.

Bologna rue Denswil's lapse

The hosts' hard work keeping Juve at bay was undone by a moment of madness from Denswil. His tug on De Ligt's shirt was unnecessary and proved costly when Ronaldo put away the penalty.

What's next?

Sarri's side host struggling Lecce on Friday, while Bologna travel to Sampdoria on Sunday.

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    Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Dybala a doubt to face Lyon, Sarri impressed with rested Ronaldo Dybala a doubt to face Lyon, Sarri impressed with rested Ronaldo

    Paulo Dybala remains an injury concern for Juventus' Champions League clash with Lyon, but Maurizio Sarri is buoyant about Cristiano Ronaldo's condition.

    Argentina international Dybala went off in the first half of the Bianconeri's Scudetto-sealing 2-0 win over Sampdoria on July 26 with a thigh strain.

    He missed the subsequent defeats to Cagliari and Roma to close out the Serie A campaign and appears to be doubtful to make his return in the second leg of the last-16 tie against Lyon in Turin on Friday.

    Sarri would dearly love to call on Dybala given his side have a 1-0 deficit to turn around from the first leg back in February.

    "It's still in the hands of the medics, although I saw he did something on the pitch in training," Sarri told reporters.

    "We'll see what he can do tomorrow morning, then talk to him and the doctors about what he's able to do."

    There is no doubting the fitness of Ronaldo, though.

    The 35-year-old ended the 2019-20 Serie A campaign with 31 goals - a total only bettered by Lazio's Ciro Immobile - and has scored 10 in 13 appearances since Juve's season resumed in June.

    Ronaldo was rested for the final league match against Roma at the weekend after a hectic schedule.

    Sarri feels that has benefited the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and he has been encouraged by what he has seen from the Portuguese ahead of the crucial clash with Lyon.

    "Cristiano Ronaldo is training well, I saw him score an absolutely stunning goal in training yesterday," said the Juve boss.

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    Maurizio Sarri does not fear being axed by Juventus if they fail to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.

    The Bianconeri won a ninth successive Scudetto last month in Sarri's first campaign at the helm, though they somewhat limped over the line having won just two of their final eight matches of the season.

    Domestic dominance is nothing new for Juve - who were also beaten in June's Coppa Italia final by Napoli - so Sarri's detractors may need to see his worth in Europe's premier club competition, which they have not won since 1996.

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    Asked whether he thought it could be his last game in charge, Sarri told reporters: "No, and I think this question is essentially calling our directors amateurish, which I don't think they are.

    "They will have made their evaluation based on the entire season as a whole, so if they've already decided to get a new coach, tomorrow won't make any difference, nor will a victory.

    "It's an important match but it's also important to win the Scudetto, and so we've had plenty of those already this season.

    "It would be important to be part of Europe's elite by reaching the final eight tournament in Portugal, so we care about it, but that makes it an important match, not anything else."

    Despite pipping impressive Inter, Atalanta and Lazio sides to the Scudetto, Sarri's tenure has still been questioned, as was the case at Chelsea, where he won the Europa League and sealed a top-four berth in the Premier League but left amid little fanfare a year ago.

    Sarri feels it is wrong to dismiss his side's achievement in winning the league title just because it has become the norm recently.

    "I don't read or listen to any of it," he added.

    "We are very happy to have won perhaps the most difficult Serie A season in the history of the league due to the many issues that were around it.

    "Juventus is a club accustomed to winning and therefore people can be a little blase about it, but that is absolutely wrong in my opinion because victory should always be treated as a wonderful and extraordinary event."

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