Ronaldo, Dybala get Juventus back winning on Serie A return

MILAN (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala scored early as Juventus put their Italian Cup final woes behind them with a 2-0 win over Bologna on Monday night to move four points clear of Lazio on top of the Serie A table.

Portuguese star Ronaldo had missed a penalty in the Italian Cup semi-final against AC Milan, and drew a blank in the final which Juventus lost 4-2 on penalties to Napoli.

But the 35-year-old made no mistake in Juventus’ first league game since beating Inter Milan 2-0 in Turin on March 8.

He converted a spot-kick earned by Matthijs de Ligt after 23 minutes for his 26th goal for the Turin giants in all competitions this season.

Dybala curled in the second on 36 minutes off a Federico Bernardeschi back-heel flick as Juventus, chasing a ninth consecutive Scudetto, opened up a four-point lead on second-placed Lazio.

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo stands between teammates Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic prior to shooting a free kick during the Serie A against Bologna. PHOTO: AFP

“We need confidence and this victory will help us,” said Dybala.

“It’s not easy to be brilliant right now, we hadn’t been playing for a long time.

“If we had won the (Italian Cup) final everyone would have complimented us, because on a tactical level we have had a great game, even if we were not brilliant, but we conceded little.

“Today we played a great game, even if after 2-0 we gave up a bit.”

Lazio travel north to fourth-placed Atalanta in Bergamo

today, looking to keep their bid for a first Serie A title in two decades on track.

Inter Milan, in third, are nine points adrift of Juventus, and next host Sassuolo.

AC Milan shrugged off the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to sweep past Lecce 4-1 and keep their bid for European football next season alive as 10-man Fiorentina were held 1-1 by basement club Brescia.

Swedish star Ibrahimovic has yet to return from a calf injury but Milan put their exit in the Italian Cup semi-final behind them at relegation-threatened Lecce.

“It’s an important victory,” said Milan coach Stefano Pioli.

“Roma (in fifth) are far away at the moment but we have to try to make as many points as possible.

“Ibra is a fundamental player for us, without him we had to find other solutions.”

In Lecce, Samuel Castillejo opened the scoring after 26 minutes for the visitors, connecting with a Hakan Calhanoglu cross from the right to slot in his first goal this season.