Cristiano Ronaldo converted two late penalties on his 100th appearance for Juventus in all competitions as the Serie A titleholders ground out a 3-1 win away to a dogged Genoa side on Sunday. Ronaldo, who also converted two penalties in the 3-0 win at Barcelona on Tuesday, struck in the 78th and 89th minutes, taking his tally to 10 in the league this season – as many as the entire Genoa team – and 14 all competitions.
Juve, chasing a 10th successive Serie A title, are fourth with 23 points from 11 games and are still unbeaten, although they have drawn five times. Genoa, who narrowly escaped the drop last season, are one off the bottom with six points. Juve had 71 percent of possession but, not for the first time, Andrea Pirlo’s team struggled to open up stubborn opponents from the wrong end of the table.
“We had to put the Barcelona game out of our minds,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo. “We knew we were up against a team that wanted to close ranks, so we had to be patient. The most important thing was our attitude – we couldn’t wait for them to play but we had to attack them.”
It took them 57 minutes to break through when Weston McKennie flicked the ball to Paulo Dybala and the Argentine beat Mattia Perin with a shot inside the near post for his first league goal of the season. Genoa replied out of the blue four minutes later, Stefano Sturaro sidefooting past Wojciech Szczesny from Luca Pellegrini’s cross to score against his old club.
Dybala had a goal disallowed for offside and Ronaldo sent a free header straight at Perin before Juventus eventually wore Genoa down. With 12 minutes left, Juan Cuadrado was sent sprawling by a clumsy Nicolo Rovella tackle and Ronaldo fired his spot kick into the middle of the goal. Perin then upended Alvaro Morata after Genoa gave the ball away in defence and Ronaldo duly blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
“It was annoying to concede a goal at literally the first shot on target, especially a few minutes after we broke the deadlock, but we recovered from it,” said Pirlo. “Dybala needed the goal to unblock himself mentally and physically. We’ve been waiting for this and now we expect even more from him.”