The reliability of Cristiano Ronaldo from the penalty spot was once again a big factor for Juventus as the late brace of spot-kicks by the Portugal star sealed a 3-1 victory at Genoa to spare the blushes of the Bianconeri.
As the men of Andrea Pirlo saw Barcelona 3-0 in the Champions League, Ronaldo netted two penalties in midweek and he repeated the feat again on his 100th Juve appearance at Stadio Luigi Ferraris to bring down a stubborn Genoa side.
During the early exchanges of a generally tepid first half, Adrien Rabiot had a goal disallowed, but Juve increased the pressure after the interval and made the breakthrough with the first Serie A goal of the season from Paulo Dybala.
Former Juve midfielder Stefano Sturaro equalized and this term, Pirlo’s men looked doomed to lose points for the sixth time, but unhappy defending led to Ronaldo in the final 12 minutes getting his double.
400 – #CristianoRonaldo become the first player to reach 400 wins in the top-5 European League in 2000s. Lionel Messi is second in this ranking with 365 wins (Buffon third, 350). Winner.#GenoaJuve pic.twitter.com/otJ5vWuuzy
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) December 13, 2020
As Rabiot bundled in at the back post following Leonardo Bonucci’s header across goal, Juve momentarily thought they had gotten off to a brilliant start, but celebrations were short-lived as he used his hand to direct the ball over the line.
Genoa also did a strong job of limiting the flow of chances for Juve for the remainder of the first half, with just another moderately promising attempt by the champions in the 24th minute seeing Weston McKennie drag a shot wide as Ronaldo threatened to reach him at the far post.
In the second half, Dybala finally ended Genoa’s resistance as he latched on from the right flank to McKennie’s flick-on and jinked away from a defender before slotting into the bottom-right corner.
But Genoa swiftly levelled, Sturaro ghosting in from a close angle at the back to tuck in Luca Pellegrini’s teasing cross.
Just past the hour, Juve had another goal rubbed out because of an offside in the build-up to the tap-in of Ronaldo, but the former Real Madrid star was not to be denied from 12 yards, coolly slotting in to make it a 2-1 winner after the woeful attempt of Nicolo Rovella to tackle Juan Cuadrado in the net.
He then completed the scoring as a result of Mattia Perin clumsily fouling Alvaro Morata following a hospital pass into the area by Pellegrini.