Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 11th goals in seven Serie A games, as Juventus just about pushed past Parma 2-1 and broke four points clear at the top.
Inter drew 1-1 at Lecce this afternoon, so this was a big opportunity for Maurizio Sarri’s men. Rodrigo Bentancur was still suspended, with Merih Demiral, Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Sami Khedira injured. Cristiano Ronaldo missed the midweek Coppa Italia win over Udinese with sinusitis, but returned to partner Paulo Dybala. Parma had the chance to go into sixth place, but Gervinho, Alberto Grassi and Yann Karamoh didn’t make the trip.
This was a special game for Dejan Kulusevski, who signed for Juventus this month from Atalanta, but remains on loan at Parma for the rest of the season.
Juve were forced into an early change, as Alex Sandro went off with an injury to make way for Danilo, shifting Juan Cuadrado over to left-back.
Ronaldo tested Luigi Sepe with a fierce shot at the near post, then nodded over from the resulting corner.
Roberto Inglese was unlucky, as he fell heavily on to his back after a mid-air collision with Matthijs de Ligt and had to be practically carried off the pitch.
While Andreas Cornelius was preparing to come on, Juventus opened the scoring. Ronaldo had been trying this move all night, cut inside from the left and shoot with the right foot, but this time it took a big deflection off Matteo Darmian to wrong-foot Sepe at the near post. This represented the seventh consecutive Serie A game on target for CR7.
It should’ve been 2-0 in first half stoppages, but Aaron Ramsey only clipped the upright from 12 yards after a good Ronaldo run.
Sepe managed to get his hand to a Danilo snapshot, palming it on to the base of the far post on 51 minutes.
However, Parma managed to get an equaliser, as Cornelius confirmed his status as the ultimate Serie A supersub. Once again, he got a goal off the bench, a soaring and glancing header on a corner into the far top corner.
The situation did not last long, because moments later Ronaldo restored the Juventus lead. Dybala provided the assist, rolling it across from the right so that CR7 simply had to continue his run to prod in from six yards. That took his tally to 11 goals in the last seven games.
Gonzalo Higuain came off the bench and scuffed a finish just wide, while Szczesny got down to smother a Hernani daisy-cutter and flew to parry a Jasmin Kurtic scorcher.
Parma continued to push in the final stages, De Ligt with a decisive block to turn Sprocati’s shot wide on the Kulusevski’s assist from 12 yards.
Luca Siligardi and Ronaldo again forced saves in the final minutes, the Portuguese star’s header also just over when Sepe failed to cut out a corner, while De Ligt made a crucial block on Cornelius.