In-form Cristiano Ronaldo marked the 1,000th senior match of his career with a goal… and a Serie A record to boot.
The 35-year-old’s strike sent Juventus on their way to an important 2-1 victory at SPAL as they aim to fend off the challenges of Lazio and Inter Milan at the top of Serie A.
Only Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella had ever netted in 11 consecutive Serie A matches – until Ronaldo slotted home Juan Cuadrado’s 39th minute cross to give Juve the lead.
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Former Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey then got in on the act on the hour, capitalising on a rare start by scooping over the helpless goalkeeper.
What had appeared to be a straightforward win for Maurizio Sarri’s men, however, became a little more nervy when Daniele Rugani was penalised for a foul in the box.
After the decision was checked by VAR, Napoli loanee Andrea Petagna stroked home the resultant spot-kick for SPAL.
Serie A’s bottom side were unable to find an equaliser though, and Sarri will have breathed a sigh of relief upon the final whistle.
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Juventus went into the match top of the table, but their 2-0 defeat to Brescia a fortnight ago had plunged the 61-year-old’s future into doubt.
Rumours had even surfaced that they were interested in bringing Massimiliano Allegri back to the Allianz Stadium.
The win takes the Old Lady four points clear at the top of the table, overnight at least.
Second-placed Lazio travel to Genoa tomorrow lunchtime, while Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan host Sampdoria in the evening.
Juventus’ attention now turns to the Champions League, as they travel to France to take on Lyon in the first leg of their round of 32 clash on Wednesday night.
Club chiefs are desperate for success in the competition, pinning their hopes on Ronaldo being able to fire them to glory as he begins the second thousand of his senior career appearances.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission.