Champions Juventus leave it late but win as Ronaldo fails to find net on debut
A late goal from Federico Bernadeschi was enough for Juventus to overcome a plucky Chievo side who looked set to spoil Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game for the Italian champions.
There was high drama in the final minutes of the game as it had looked as though Mario Mandzukic had scored a late header for the Juventus but the goal was overturned after a VAR decision which appeared to rule the goal out for a Ronaldo handball in the build-up.
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However, Bernadeschi’s late impact was enough to secure the three points in the season opener as Juventus chase their eighth successive Scudetto.
Ronaldo came close on several occasions, notably a close shot in the first half and a bullet header early in the second but try as he might the Portuguese superstar was unable to break his personal deadlock for his new club.
An early goal from Sami Khedira, just three minutes into the new season, suggested that Max Allegri’s side might run away with it but the excellent Emanuele Giaccherini set up a goal for Mariusz Stepinski to level the game before half-time.
Former Juventus man Giaccherini looked like he might break the hearts of his old club as found the net from the penalty spot ten minutes into the second half but Juventus, the most dominant Italian side of the last decade, pushed forward and had several chances to draw level.
An own goal from Mattia Bani, who deflected in a Leonardo Bonucci header from a set piece, eventually leveled matters but when Mandukic’s late effort was ruled out following a VAR decision, it seemed that the game would end in a deadlock.
Champions, they say, persevere and substitute Bernadeschi’s late goal three minutes into injury time ensured that Ronaldo ended his first game for his new team with a smile on his face and their first three points registered on the league table.
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It was no more than Juventus deserved, as they carved out 26 chances to Chievo’s 6 throughout the match but, as Ronaldo found out in his first game in Italy, the incredible goalscoring record he maintained in Spain may prove difficult to replicate on this new stomping grounds.