Ronaldo off the mark at last with a brace

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after breaking his four-game duck against Sassuolo in Turin on Sunday. Ronaldo scored two goals as Juventus notched a 2-1 victory. AP/ PTI

Cristiano Ronaldo broke his Juventus duck in his fourth game when he scored a brace on Sunday to give them a 2-1 win over Sassuolo in Serie A, although the Turin side’s day was marred by a red card for Douglas Costa for spitting at an opponent.

The five-times world player of the year opened his account in the easiest possible fashion by tapping into an empty net from less than two metres in the 50th minute.

The Portuguese added another in the 65th minute when he finished off a counter-attack by drilling a low-angled shot beyond Andrea Consigli and into the far corner with his left foot.

After Ronaldo missed two good chances for a hat-trick, Khouma Babacar headed one back in the 90th minute but could not prevent Sassuolo from falling to their first defeat of the season.

Costa became involved in a running feud with Sassuolo midfielder Federico Di Francesco.

The Brazilian escaped with a booking for elbowing and then head-butting his rival as they tangled before the Sassuolo goal but was then sent off after video cameras caught him spitting at the same player in another altercation.

Juventus, chasing an eighth successive Serie A title, have 12 points, three ahead of Napoli. Earlier, AS Roma squandered a two-goal lead when they were held 2-2 at home by lowly Chievo. 

Roma held

Earlier, Roma threw away a two-goal lead as tailenders Chievo snatched a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday to dent morale before a daunting midweek trip to Champions League holders Real Madrid.

Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante put Roma, who lost to AC Milan before the international break, firmly in command by the half-time interval.

But Chievo, beaten 6-1 by Fiorentina last time out and deducted three points by the Italian football federation for false accounting, battled back in the second half.

Valter Birsa pulled a goal back after 52 minutes with Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski sealing a point for the club from Verona seven minutes from time.

“This was a game we had under control, we should have closed it down. This can’t happen against Real,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco told broadcaster DAZN.

“In games like this you have to score four goals. This didn’t happen, and it kept Chievo alive.”

The Roma coach added: “We’ll be going out to challenge Real Madrid on Wednesday. We mustn’t lose our heads, even if these results destabilise us.”

Last season’s Serie A runners-up Napoli got back to winning ways on Saturday with Lorenzo Insigne scoring the only goal against Fiorentina ahead of next week’s Champions League trip to Red Star Belgrade.

Inter Milan’s woes were compounded with a shock 1-0 defeat to Parma ahead of their European opener against Tottenham in the San Siro.

In the Stadio Olimpico, Italy winger El Shaarawy got Di Francesco’s side off the mark after ten minutes with a volley off Alessandro Florenzi’s precise freekick.

On-loan Atalanta midfielder Cristante then turned in his first goal for Roma after half an hour, from distance, after good work from Edin Dzeko.

Stepinski and Birsa both headed over before the break as Chievo dug deep.

Slovenian Birsa found a way through with a curling effort seven minutes after the break, with Stepinski breaking through the tired Roman defence.

Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen did well to clear a final Emanuele Giaccherini effort to secure a point for the capital side.

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Ronaldo off the mark at last with a brace

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