Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A, but were made to work hard for their 4-0 win over 10-man Lecce on Friday night.
The hosts started very poorly indeed against the Serie A strugglers, but their task was made all-the-more easier after Fabio Lucioni was given a straight red card in the 31st minute after he was adjudged to be the last man when he fouled Rodrigo Bentancur.
Eight minutes into the second half and Juventus made their numerical advantage count as Cristiano Ronaldo fed Paulo Dybala, who curled a fine strike into the top corner to net his second in as many games.
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Ronaldo then got in on the act as he netted his ninth Serie A penalty of the season to make it two in the 62nd minute, before Gonzalo Higuain and Matthijs de Ligt made sure of the win late on that sends Juve seven points clear at the top of the table as they close on their ninth successive Scudetto.

Cristiano Ronaldo trifft vom Punkt für Juventus Turin gegen US Lecce

Image credit: Getty Images

With Maurizio Sarri under pressure for his perceived negative style of football, Juventus did little to appease their disgruntled fans watching from afar as they laboured early on against a determined Lecce, who had the better of the early openings.
A wayward overhead kick from Ronaldo was all Juve had to show from the opening half hour before Lucioni let Bentancur steal the ball off him, before fouling the Juve midfielder and being sent off for being the last man.
That lifeline finally sparked the hosts into life, with Federico Bernardeschi somehow contriving to miss from two yards out just before the interval. After the break, the goals finally came as Dybala collected a pass from Ronaldo before finding the top corner. That was before Ronaldo won and scored the penalty to put his side in command.
A Ronaldo backheel then set up substitute Higuain for his first goal since January five minutes from time, before De Ligt headed home Douglas Costa's cross to cap an unconvincing but comprehensive victory for Sarri's side.

TALKING POINT - Another win, but Sarri failing to win over doubters.

Juventus are seven points clear at the top of the table and have just won 4-0, but still fans will not be happy. And they have valid reasons for their disgruntlement.
This was not a 4-0 performance from Juventus, who in fact could have been a goal or two down early on had the visitors been more clinical. The goals took a while to come, but the football was not free-flowing, and came via the usual sources. The circumstances are difficult at the moment, of course, but more sluggish performances will do little to convince fans unsure about their manager.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Cristiano Ronaldo

Two goals in two for Ronaldo now since Serie A's return, with another two assists racked up against Lecce. He did not have his greatest game ever, but Ronaldo did what he does best, and made telling contributions when his team needed him most.

PLAYER RATINGS

Juventus: Szczesny 6, Matuidi 6, Bonucci 6, De Ligt 7, Cuadrado 5, Pjanic 6, Rabiot 5, Bentancur 6, Ronaldo 8, Bernardeschi 5, Dybala 7... Subs: Ramsey 6, Muratore 6, Douglas Costa 6, Higuain 7.
Lecce: Gabriel 7, Vera 6, Petriccione 6, Lucioni 4, Paz 6, Donati 6, Mancosu 7, Falco 6, Shakhov 5, Rispoli 5, Tachtsidis 5... Subs: Rossettini 6, Barak 6, Babacar 6

KEY MOMENTS

28’ - RONALDO OVERHEAD KICK ATTEMPT! It didn't come off, but it was an acrobatic attempt from Ronaldo. Well wide from the Portuguese.
31’ - RED CARD! Catastrophe for Lecce as Fabio Lucioni is sent off for a foul on Bentancur. The Juve midfielder caught Lucioni dallying on the ball, nipped in, Lucioni tripped him and the referee brandished the red card, deeming Lucioni to be the last man.
41’ - CHAAANCE! Big chance for Ronaldo, who would normally bury a free header from eight yards, but he cannot find the target.
42’ - MISS! An incredible miss from Bernardeschi, after being picked out by a drilled Ronaldo cross. He was just two yards out, under the crossbar, but he somehow fired over!
53’ - GOOOOAALLLLLL!!! Juventus 1-0 Lecce. Finally, Juventus have their goal with Dybala curling a fine effort into the top corner. Poor defending from the visitors as they give the ball away on the edge of their own penalty area, Ronaldo feeds Dybala, who brilliantly finds the top corner.
61’ - PENALTY! Ronaldo is sent tumbling in the penalty area by Rossettini and the referee points to the spot.
62’ - GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! Juventus 2-0 Lecce. Ronaldo hammers it straight down the middle to make it two.
85' - GOOOOAAAALLLL!!! Juventus 4-0 Lecce. De Ligt now makes it four. This is becoming a rout. Douglas Costa with the cross and De Ligt meets it with his head to score his third Serie A goal of the season.

KEY STATS

Paulo Dybala scored his 50th goal at home in Serie A
Rodrigo Bentancur played his 100th game for Juventus.
Douglas Costa completed more take-ons than every other player on the pitch combined (5).
Lecce are the 20th different side Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against in Serie A - the Portuguese player has found the net against 20 of the 21 teams he has faced in the competition so far.
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