Cristiano Ronaldo was not great on Saturday. Neither was Juventus.
But neither have to be to win.
Ronaldo helped set up Aaron Ramsey’s first Juve goal and converted the clinching penalty in a 2-1 win over Verona in Turin.
Juventus struggled to beat Parma in its Serie A opener, then was fortunate to beat Napoli the following weekend. A listless draw at Fiorentina seven days ago preceded a midweek Champions League capitulation at Atletico Madrid, when the hosts erased a two-goal deficit with a 90th-minute equalizer.
Still, there’s so much more capability in Juve’s ranks than its domestic foes, and the champions will gladly take three points from Saturday after falling behind midway through the first half on a wild sequence.
Verona’s Samuel Di Carmine clanged his penalty off the post and Darko Lazovic stung the crossbar with his follow-up effort, but Verona dispossessed Juve out wide and the ball eventually settled for Miguel Veloso, who ripped a shot from outside the box (via ESPN):
Juventus tied the game when Ronaldo slipped a pass into the open path of Ramsey, whose shot took a fortunate deflection in his Juve debut:
Shortly after halftime, Juan Cuadrado drew a penalty and Ronaldo fired home the spot kick high and down the middle.
From there, Juventus held off the visitors and momentarily summited the Serie A table, at least before the Milan derby.
They’ll probably stay up there for most of the rest of the season. Because when you have a super-talented cast led by Ronaldo, that’s how things go even on the bad days.
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