ROME – Juventus blanked Sassuolo 3-0 on Sunday with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo scoring one of the goals, contributing an assist and otherwise leading the team to victory, thus reinforcing its dominance atop Italy’s Serie A standings a commanding 11 points out in front of Napoli, which is in second place.
Cristiano has now scored 18 goals so far this season and leads the table of strikers with a Juventus that is getting its house in order to go up against Atletico Madrid on Feb. 20 at Metropolitano Stadium in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Juventus was eliminated from the Italian Cup competition with its stunning quarterfinals loss to Atlanta and only managed a 3-3 draw with Parma in its earlier league contest.
The team has been waiting for both Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci to return to full form, but it appears that they will be ready for next week’s clash, although coach Massimiliano Allegri had fallen back on Daniele Rugani and Uruguay’s Martin Caceres in recent outings with good results.
Although on Sunday Sassuolo came out with a fiery intensity, with Serbia’s Filip Djuricic having a great chance, but Juventus’ Polish goaltender Wojciech Szczesny saving the day right at the start of the match, it didn’t take long for Juventus to impose its style of play on the game.
The home squad got on the board in the 23rd minute when Sami Khedira recovered a block by Sassuolo keeper Andrea Consigli after a shot by Cristiano and pushed the ball into the net for his second league tally of the year after scoring his first last week against Chievo.
Sassuolo then was able to create another good chance in the 55th minute with a move by Domenico Berardi after a serious error by Szczesny, but that fizzled and Juventus scored its second goal in the 70th minute on a powerful header by Cristiano.
With the game on the rails toward a relatively easy victory, Germany’s Emre Can once again put Juventus on the board for the 3-0 on a perfect left-footed cross from Cristiano Ronaldo after a counterattack.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Napoli battled to a scoreless draw against Fiorentina, thus pushing Juventus another step closer to its eighth consecutive league title.