Cristiano Ronaldo has proven to be the difference again for Juventus scoring a brace against Cagliari in the Serie A clash at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night to level on the number of goals for the season with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 38th minute when he cut inside to blast into the far bottom corner with his right foot. He then got his brace with quick improvisational skills to hook in a corner that was deflected behind him.
The 35-year-old sets another record at the club with his brace as he becomes the first Juve player to score in each of his first five Serie A outings in one season in the three-points-per-win era.
This has now made the Portugal ace the joint top goalscorer in the Serie with Ibrahimovic, netting his eight in six games.
This drew commendation from Juve manager, Andrea Pirlo, who described the five-time world footballer of the year as a great example as he kept his goal rate going.
After his match-winning brace, which came from five attempts, Ronaldo also laid on three chances for his team-mates. This made Pirlo shower praise on him.
“He is a great professional, as we already knew. He is a real champion and sets the example for everyone around him, both in the matches and in training.
“The only advice I can give him is to keep going in the same way,” Pirlo told DAZN.
Ronaldo led a dominant display to level on goals with Ibrahimovic as Juve records second clean sheets in Serie A
With Ronaldo living up to the billing again, Juventus was able to contain Cagliari, known for their attacking play by keeping them at bay and maintaining possession.
They also created opportunities. One of them resulted into a goal from Federico Bernardeschi, which was ruled out for offside. Juve also tested opposition goalkeeper Alessio Cragno five times in Saturday’s clash, with 60 touches of the ball coming from nine of their players to show their dominance. The last time they rack up such huge number was 15 years ago, only the stats against Bologna in 2018 was better.
The maximum point also took them to the second spot on the log, a point behind Milan that will be travelling to Sao Paolo on Sunday to face Napoli. Pirlo is delighted to have won four of his eight league outings. The former Italy international lauded his team with the way they are taking on his ideas.
“There’s a lot of quality in this squad, but that alone is not enough. If we are going to dominate games then we have to work the ball quickly from side to side.
“The players enjoy this style of football. When we have possession we have to pin the opposition back.
“We’ve been trying this pressing game since the first game but have not had much time to work on it. It is about winning back the ball as quickly as possible to keep the pressure.”
As expected, the creator-in-chief was Arthur, who completed more passes (101), which was more than any player on the pitch. He recorded unrivalled 57 passes in the opposition half, a week after scoring his first goal for Brazil.
“He is the player we expected. He came from a different league and needed a period of adaptation.
“Now he is better and is a very important player for our games if we are to avoid the opposition press,” he said..