Cristiano Ronaldo finally bagged a goal from the penalty spot as Juventus marked their return to the Serie A with a 2-0 win over Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Monday night.
Maurizio Sarri’s side entered this encounter eager to shrug off the disappointment of their Coppa Italia final defeat to Napoli last week. Ronaldo set the champions on their way from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute of their first top-flight game since March 8, which came a few days before the league was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus.
Dybala added a superb second before half-time, whipping into the top corner from outside the penalty area, while Ronaldo and Federico Bernardeschi came close to adding further goals after the interval before Danilo was sent off in stoppage time. The result moves the reigning champions four points clear of Lazio at the top of the table, although Simone Inzaghi’s side will have the chance to cut the gap back to one point when they travel to Atalanta on Wednesday.
Juve started on the front foot, with Ronaldo forcing Lukasz Skorupski into a smart stop inside the opening 10 minutes. The forward got the better of the Bologna goalkeeper midway through the opening period, though, slotting down the middle from the penalty spot after a VAR review deemed that Stefano Denswil pulled Matthijs de Ligt’s shirt from a corner.
The visitors doubled their advantage in sumptuous style nine minutes before the break, Dybala sweeping into the top corner from 20 yards after a superb backheeled flick by Bernardeschi. Ronaldo returned with another chance but, this time, prodded wide when clean through, shortly after the restart while Bernardeschi crashed a 20-yard effort against the post moments later.
Juve were content to play out the second half at a pedestrian pace, though a Ronaldo effort fizzed past the post. This was an improved performance by the marksman, following his missed penalty in the Coppa Italia second-leg semi-final and subsequent refusal to step up in the final against Lazio on Wednesday last week.
Ronaldo then saw a late strike ruled out for offside, while substitute Danilo received his marching orders in stoppage time after picking up a second booking for a foul on Musa Juwara. The result sent Maurizio Sarri’s side to the top of the table with Lazio the only chink to the armour challenging for league honours this season.