27.10.2018 21:10 - in: Match report S

      Empoli 1-2 Juve. Ronaldo stunner wins it!

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      A CR7 double sees Juve come from behind to beat Empoli

      Cristiano Ronaldo displayed all his star quality as he helped Juve come from behind and eventually defeat a stubborn Empoli side.

      Aurelio Andreazzoli's men made life hard for the champions and took a first-half lead through Francesco Caputo before Ronaldo entered the stage after the break, first equalising from the penalty spot before firing home a stunning winner.


      Daniele Rugani came in to partner Leonardo Bonucci at the heart of defence after Giorgio Chiellini pulled out during the warm-up and Mattia De Sciglio made his first appearance of the season.

      Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Federico Bernardeschi began as the front three and found themselves faced by a thick blue wall on the edge of the Empoli area. The home side did look to get forward when they won the ball back but their main concern was clearly to limit the risks at the back.

      As a result, the Bianconeri enjoyed long spells of possession but rarely managed to break through Empoli's lines, with their passing lacking a touch of pace. Ronaldo, Dybala and Miralem Pjanic tried their luck from distance without finding the target.


      When the Bianconeri ran at their opponents they did manage to get down to the byline and put in a few crosses, especially down the left. Alex Sandro delivered an excellent low ball but neither Ronaldo nor Bernardeschi were able to latch onto it as they got in each other's way.

      Empoli were happy to let Juve keep the ball but when they had the chance to break they did so at great pace. A couple of counter-attacks came to nothing before Afriyie Acquah went on a marauding run up the pitch and centered; the ball bounced off Rade Krunic and fell invitingly for Francesco Caputo, who picked his spot in the corner beyond the reach of Wojciech Szczesny.

      Juve didn't respond as vehemently as you might have expected and besides a Ronaldo header – set up by the lively Alex Sandro – they did little to warrant an equaliser.

      When the half-time whistle blew it was abundantly clear that Juve would need to do much more after break if they were to turn the game around.


      Having found themselves trailing at the break for the first time this season, the Bianconeri shot out of the blocks after the restart and almost equalised immediately, twice in the same move. First Ivan Provedel saved Alex Sandro's shot then Pjanic's effort cannoned off the bar.

      Eight minutes into the half Dybala shielded the ball in the box and was brought down by Ismael Bennacer. The ref pointed to the spot, Ronaldo stepped up and duly obliged from 12 yards.

      CR7 ROCKET!

      The Portuguese didn't even celebrate his goal but instead raced to gather the ball and carry it back to the centre spot. Clearly, he was in no mood for drawing this one.

      Juve were now winning the ball back higher up the pitch and zipping it around quicker in possession, but Empoli still managed to keep things tidy and break up the flow of the game.

      Allegri moved to inject more pace with the introduction of Juan Cuadrado but instead it was Ronaldo who produced a moment of class to complete the turnaround. Collecting the ball from Blaise Matuidi 20 yards out, he took a couple of touches to tee himself up before unleashing a venomous strike that flashed across the goal and into the top corner – his seventh of the campaign and his first penalty for Juventus.


      This time Empoli took a while to gather themselves and Cuadrado almost created a third when he burst down the right and just yards from goal pulled back for Ronaldo, albeit slightly too far back to be of any use.

      Empoli threw caution to the wind and Andrea Barzagli came on to help shore things up. The hosts' best chance came in the dying seconds as Caputo's effort sailed just over the bar.

      Juve claimed three hard-fought points – perhaps the hardest yet of the campaign – but wins like these add up when the trophies are handed at the end of the year.

      EMPOLI 1-2 JUVENTUS (HT 1-0)
      Caputo 28, Ronaldo 54 (pen), 70.



      Provedel; Di Lorenzo, Silvestre, Maietta, Antonelli (Pasqual 69); Acquah, Traoré (La Gumina 82), Bennacer; Krunic, Zajc (Ucan 75); Caputo.
      Subs not used: Fulignati, Terracciano, Marcjanik, Rasmussen, Capezzi, Untersee, Brighi, Jakupovic, Mraz.
      Coach: Andreazzoli.


      Szczesny; De Sciglio (Barzagli 90), Rugani, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Pjanic (Douglas Costa 80), Matuidi Bentancur; Bernardeschi (Cuadrado 66), Ronaldo, Dybala.
      Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Cancelo, Benatia, Chiellini, Spinazzola, Kean.
      Coach: Allegri.

      REFEREE: Calvarese.
      ASSISTANTS: Lo Cicero, Tolfo.
      VAR: Valeri, Giallatini.

      BOOKED: Bernardeschi 43, Bentancur 45+3, Traore 59, Dybala 78, Ucan 90+1.

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