Serie A result - Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianluigi Buffon star as Juventus secure win over Sassuolo
Serie A, Stadio Mapei - Sassuolo 1 (Raspadori 59') Juventus 3 (Rabiot 28', Ronaldo 45', Dybala 66')
Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Sassuolo vs Juventus on May 12, 2021 at the Mapei-Citta del Tricolore stadium in Reggio Emilia
Juventus kept their Champions League qualification hopes alive with a 3-1 win over Sassuolo at Stadio Mapei.
The Bianconeri kicked off three points behind AC Milan and in fifth place, after an embarrassing defeat to the very same team last time out. They rode their luck at times but grabbed the win, but their fate is still out of their hands.
Sassuolo, who had won five and drawn one of their last six league games, started with great ferocity, pressing high and forcing Juve into mistakes.
Both Hamed Traore and Domenico Berardi fired over in the early stages and it seemed like only a matter of time before the visitors wilted again. Just after the 15 minute mark, Leonardo Bonucci brought down Giacomo Raspadori in the area after a poor turn by Adrien Rabiot. The penalty was given.
While the hosts kept pushing despite that setback, Juve struck a harsh blow at the other end. Rabiot turned from villain to hero with a well-placed finish from distance.
Half-time was looming when Cristiano Ronaldo added a second with his 100th goal for the Bianconeri, ghosting past Marlon before slotting into the corner.
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It didn't take long after the break for Roberto De Zerbi to summon the cavalry for Sassuolo. Three changes were made, and four minutes later, Raspadori halved the deficit after great combination play with Manuel Locatelli.
Alex Sandro was called into action to divert Georgios Kyriakopoulos' cross away from Berardi, who was waiting to tap home at the back post.
Moments later, Dybala joined Ronaldo on 100 Juve goals with a lovely finish, having been played in by Dejan Kulusevski. Restoring the two goal advantage really stunted Sassuolo's progress after an impressive first half performance.
Ronaldo could have added another when he cut in from the left, but his effort cannoned off the post. It was far from perfect from Andrea Pirlo's side, but they restored some confidence ahead of the Derby d'Italia against Inter this weekend.
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If form or the early running in this game were anything to go by, Sassuolo would have won easily. They swarmed Juve early on and would have deserved to take the lead had Berardi scored his penalty.
In the end, though, it was Juve's big players who stood up. Ronaldo and Dybala both reached milestones, and Buffon set the tone with that save. Each moment came at a crucial time, too. It wasn't Sassuolo's night, with their trio of Italy stars - Berardi, Locatelli and Gian Marco Ferrari - all having off nights.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Back in the team so soon after his announcement, Buffon stepped up again. When he saved the penalty, he changed the game and gave his side a platform from which to build. He may be 43, but he showed the same agility he always has; retirement isn't on his mind yet, and on this evidence, nor should it be.