Cristiano Ronaldo headed in his 18th league goal this season as Juventus bounced back from last week’s stalemate to soar to an 11-point lead in Serie A on Sunday with a 3-0 win at Sassuolo.
Ronaldo proved decisive, scoring after 70 minutes as Sami Khedira found the net first in Modena with fellow German Emre Can slotting in the third four minutes from time.
The seven-time Serie A champions had been held by promoted Parma last week despite the Portugese forward’s double, but leave second-placed Napoli trailing after Carlo Ancelotti’s side were held to a goalless draw at Fiorentina on Saturday.
Juventus had started slowly with goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saving twice in the opening minutes as the champions were without injured defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.
The pair are fighting to be fit for Juventus’s Champions League last 16 trip to Atletico Madrid in ten days time.
Juventus broke through after Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli rushed out to parry a Ronaldo shot leaving the way clear for Khedira to turn in the rebound after 23 minutes for his second league goal of the campaign.
Consigli denied Federico Bernardeschi just before the break with a Khedira header flying wide.
But the Portuguese star jumped highest after 70 minutes to meet Pjanic’s corner for his fourth goal in his last three league games with Can coming off the bench to score from a Ronaldo assist.
Inter Milan are third — 20 points behind Juventus — after beating promoted Parma 1-0 on Saturday, for their first league win of 2019.
Atalanta are fourth, five points behind, after battling to a 2-1 win over SPAL, with Roma fourth and Lazio fifth after beating Chievo and Empoli respectively during the week.
AC Milan host Cagliari later on Sunday looking to reclaim fourth place.
Mbappe vs Giroud: Pogba clears air on ‘rift’ between France teammates
France midfielder, Paul Pogba, has cleared the air on a ‘rift’ between teammates, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.
Recall that Mbappe felt ‘attacked’ and ‘angry’ following Giroud’s comments that he was unhappy with France’s lack of cohesion in attack after Didier Deschamps’s side defeated Bulgaria 3-0 in their final Euro 2020 warm-up game on Tuesday evening.
Reacting to the development, Pogba insisted that there is a ‘great atmosphere’ in the French camp ahead of their Euro 2020 campaign.
Asked whether there has been any tension or rift between Giroud and Mbappe, Pogba told a pre-match press conference ahead of the Euro 2020 campaign: “No, the only tension is on the back and legs!
“There is always a great atmosphere with everyone. Between Olivier and Kylian, there is nothing. Or at least there has been nothing in front of me.
“Maybe what was said was conveyed incorrectly,” he added.
France kicks off their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany next Tuesday.
The World Cup champions will also face Portugal and Hungary in Group F.
Transfer: Giroud welcome to join me at AC Milan – Ibrahimovic
Ferdinand, Shearer, Lineker predict Euro 2020 winner
Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker have all predicted that France will win Euro 2020.
The French will expect to add a continental triumph to their World Cup success.
Dider Deschamps’ team conquered the world in Russia three years ago, with the squad still boasting of Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante.
Karim Benzema has also returned from a five-year exile to add more strength to the already deadly attack.
UCL: Lineker, others praise Chelsea’s Mason after 2-0 win over Porto
“France to win it. They have got talent all over the pitch,” Shearer told the BBC.
Ferdinand added: “France have got the most depth and the most talent, that is why they are my favourites.”
Lineker however believes defending champions Portugal could yet retain their crown, but has still backed Les Bleus.
“It’s hard to look beyond France – they were losing finalists five years ago, they won the World Cup three years ago and now they have Karim Benzema too.
“They will be improved and they have brilliant young players too. They have to be favourites.
“Portugal are not exactly an outsider because they won the thing four years ago but they have a very good team and they will have a chance,” he said.
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