Milan (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals as champion Juventus beat Udinese 4-1 on Sunday to bounce off the season’s first Serie A defeat and move up to fifth place.
The club in Milan is at the top of the Italian league and Juventus reduced the match by 10 points at the summit.
Leader AC Milan beat Benevento at the midtable 2-0, one point ahead of Intel, despite being down an hour.
City rival Inter extended Lautaro Martinez to a hat-trick, overwhelming Crotone 6-2 and extending his winning streak to eight games.
However, Milan regained their advantage thanks to Franck Kessié’s 15-minute penalty and Rafael Leão’s excellent curling strike from a tight angle shortly after half-time.
Sandro Tonali was sent off in the 33rd minute with Artur Ionises’ high tackle, but couldn’t keep Stefano Pioli’s side.
Gianluigi Donnaruma was solid with Milan’s goal, but Gianluca Caprari dragged a big penalty at that time.
“You won’t be overwhelmed by your opponent’s results,” said undefeated Pioli in 27 league matches dating back to March.
“We are ambitious and do not hide it. We aim to face Juventus in the next match (Wednesday).”
Ronaldo once again proved that Juventus scored goals in each half, raising the league’s top tally to 14 in the campaign and teeing up Federico Chiesa after a break.
Paulo Dybala added a fourth depth of injury time as Andrea Pirlo’s team moved to Fiorentina from their first defeat of the season.
In San Siro, Martinez and Romelu Lukaku joined together to have a devastating impact on Inter, who won eight games in a row.
The strike duo was involved in five goals, but midfielder Arturo Vidal was pulled apart in half-time after admitting a penalty on a disastrous display.
Antonio Conte’s side was pegged 2-2 on the break with Niccolo Zanerat scoring the opening goal in the 12th minute for the rock-bottomed Calabrians who launched the worst attack in the league.
However, Martinez picked up Lukaku’s cross and raised the host’s level eight minutes later.
Martinez played a role in Inter’s second 30 minutes after Crotone DF Luca Marrone turned to own goal under pressure from Argentina.
Vladimir Goremic leveled the side six minutes after Vidal fouled Arkadiusz Reka, with a ferocious Conte replacing the Chileans with Stefano Sensi.
– Rome stays third –
Martinez regained Inter’s lead and headed to his third in 12 minutes to leave the rebound, before Marcelo Brozović’s time to connect through the ball following Lukaku’s back heel.
Lukaku scored Intel’s 50th goal in the 64th minute, but after knocking on his right thigh 10 minutes later, Achraf Hakimi closed the victory with three minutes remaining.
“Lukaku said he was a little tired. It will be tomorrow if there is a risk for Sampdoria,” Conte said.
“There is a big desire, and that’s what it shows,” said Conte as Inter, targeting the first Serie A title since 2010 in this season’s European campaign.
Rome came in third with a six-point lead over Inter, with captain Edin Dzeko scoring in the 15th minute and defeating former Rome coach Claudio Ranieri Sampdoria 1-0.
On the capital side, Piotr Zielinski was ahead of Naples, who scored two goals to beat Cagliari 4-1 and Hirving Lozano and Lorenzo Insigne also scored in the second half. The latter is from the penalty spot.
In a clash with European rivals, Atalanta whipped Sassuolo 5-1 and Colombia’s Duvan Zapata scored two goals.
The Bergamo side was playing again with captain Pap Gomez, who had dropped out with coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
Zapata and Matte Opesina scored in the first half, Colombians added a second point shortly after the break, and Vlad Kiriques regained the goal after Robin Gosens and Luis Muriel routed.
Sassuolo is the sixth one point behind Atalanta, who has fewer games.
Ciro Immobile penalized Lazio, who fell to 9th place, with a 15-minute penalty after a one-on-one draw at 19th place Genoa.
– Soccer Sports
Ronaldo double-lifts Juventus and 10 Milan keeps top ahead of Intel
https://worldsoccertalk.com/2021/01/03/ronaldo-double-lifts-juve-as-10-man-milan-stay-top-ahead-of-inter/ Ronaldo double-lifts Juventus and 10 Milan keeps top ahead of Intel