24.11.2018 21:00 - in: Match report S

      CR7 and Mario again!

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      After downing AC Milan before the break, Allegri's strike duo both find the net for the second game running to seal another victory

      Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo. Sound familiar? That's right: the same two who secured the points against AC Milan before the international break were at it again. A goal in each half once more – this time CR7 before the interval and Mandzukic after – and another 2-0 win. Juve picked up from exactly where they had left off.


      SPAL showed spunk from the off and looked to impose their game, passing the ball around accurately in the opening minutes, but it wasn't long before Juve took control.

      With Sami Khedira and Emre Can unavailable and Blaise Matuidi in need of a rest, Massimiliano Allegri had opted for a 4-4-2 formation, yet despite the presence of two wingers in the shape of Juan Cuadrado and Douglas Costa the Bianconeri weren't getting many balls into the box.

      The first chances were a couple of long-range efforts from Douglas Costa, the first of which was saved by Alfred Gomis and the second deflected behind for a corner.

      But when you have a player like Ronaldo in the team, one ball into the box is all you need. So when Miralem Pjanic curled in a free kick in the 29th minute, who else would get on the end of it but the Portuguese star. He side-footed home to make it ten goals in 16 games – no Juventus player has ever reached double figures so quickly.


      Douglas Costa came out after the break firing on all cylinders and in the space of 60 seconds rattled the post and drew a save out of Gomis with a shot from the edge of the box. The Brazilian was more than just a threat down the left flank: he would often cut inside and thread passes to team-mates from a more central position or create a numerical advantage by beating his man with devastating accelerations.

      He wasn't the only Bianconeri with pace to burn as Ronaldo demonstrated in the 60th minute with a blistering run to chase a ball that looked like a lost cause. He won it and laid off for the onrushing Douglas Costa, whose shot was parried by Gomis into the path of Mario Mandzukic. The Croat, appointed as captain for the day, had the simplest of tasks to turn the ball into an empty net.

      Two goals to the good, the Bianconeri were able to manage the game calmly knowing that any extra goals were a bonus more than a necessity. Ronaldo went looking for the bonus with a low, angled drive which Gomis managed to save.

      Allegri brought on Matuidi for the last 20 minutes in place of Douglas Costa and the Bianconeri continued to pile on the pressure. Ronaldo almost got himself a second with an acrobatic effort and a shot which finished just wide.

      There would be no third goal but there was another reason to celebrate when Giorgio Chiellini replaced Alex Sandro three minutes from time: his 483rd appearance for the club sees him move above Roberto Bettega into fifth place in Juve's all-time appearance standings.

      JUVENTUS 2-0 SPAL (HT 1-0)

      SCORERS: Ronaldo 29, Mandzukic 60.



      Perin; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Rugani, Alex Sandro (Chiellini 87); Cuadrado, Pjanic, Bentancur, Douglas Costa (Matuidi 73); Ronaldo, Mandzukic.
      Subs not used: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Cancelo, Barzagli, Benatia, Spinazzola, Dybala, Kean.
      Coach: Allegri.

      Gomis; Cionek, Felipe; Bonifazi, Fares; Lazzari, Schiattarella (Valdifiori 83), Kurtic, Missiroli (Valoti 59); Antenucci, Petagna (Paloschi 85).
      Subs not used: Milinkovic-Savic, Thiam, Simic, Djourou, Dickmann, Everton, Costa, Floccari, Moncini.
      Coach: Semplici.

      REFEREE: La Penna.
      ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Cecconi.
      VAR: Piccinini, Giallatini.

      BOOKED: Cionek 39, Fares 49, Bentancur 64, Schiattarella 74.

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