TURIN: Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice and created another goal as Juventus got back to winning ways in Serie A with a 4-1 victory over Udinese in Turin on Sunday, moving the champions up to fifth in the standings.
Ronaldo opened the scoring with a trademark drive, after latching on to Aaron Ramsey's pass in the 31st minute, before threading a perfect through ball into the path of Federico Chiesa to score Juve's second goal four minutes into the second half.
The VAR had a busy evening in Turin. First, the referee was asked to consult the pitch-side monitor before ruling out what Udinese thought was the opener for a handball early on, before Aaron Ramsey suffered the same fate when he was penalised for handball, after a second look.
Ronaldo's second goal put the result beyond any doubt as he took his goal tally to 14 league goals for the season — two more than anyone else in Serie A — in the 70th minute, with Marvin Zeegelaar scoring an injury-time consolation for Udinese.
There was still time for Paulo Dybala to score another goal for Juventus as Andrea Pirlo's side moved 10 points behind leaders AC Milan, with a game in hand, while Udinese drop to 13th and are without a win in their last four games.
Pirlo admitted his team had initially struggled to make an impact as the players were still haunted by memories of their shock 3-0 defeat by Fiorentina in their final game before the winter break.
Dybala's injury-time strike completed a flattering scoreline for Juventus, given Udinese had hit the woodwork twice in the match and missed numerous other chances.
Milan back on top with win at Benevento
A goal in each half earned 10-man AC Milan a 2-0 victory at Benevento in Serie A on Sunday.
City rivals Inter Milan had thrashed Crotone 6-2 to go top earlier on Sunday but Milan soon found themselves in front in Campania thanks to Franck Kessie's 15th-minute penalty.
Milan's task was made more difficult after Sandro Tonali was sent off in the 33rd minute following a VAR review. The referee had initially shown the midfielder a yellow card for a dangerous tackle but changed it to red after consulting the pitch-side monitor.
Rafael Leao made it 2-0 four minutes into the second half, while the hosts missed a penalty.
Milan remain unbeaten and have 37 points from 15 games while Benevento stay 10th.
Martinez stars as Inter hit six to go top
Lautaro Martinez's first hat-trick for Inter Milan helped his side crush Crotone 6-2, earning their eighth successive Serie A win on Sunday and sending Antonio Conte's team top of the standings above AC Milan.
With their local rivals in action later on Sunday, Inter knew a win would see them go top, if only temporarily, but it was not looking promising as second-bottom Crotone took a shock 12th minute lead through Niccolo Zanellato.
However, Romelu Lukaku sent strike partner Martinez through to level eight minutes later, before an own goal from Luca Marrone put Inter in front. A Vladimir Golemic penalty then levelled things up once again.
With the quality Inter possess up front, it was only a matter of time until they put Crotone to the sword in the second half, with Martinez brilliantly giving Inter the lead in the 57th minute before Lukaku added another seven minutes later.
Martinez completed his first Inter hat-trick 12 minutes from time, before Achraf Hakimi put the icing on the cake with a late sixth to put Inter top on 36 points, two clear of AC Milan and seven clear of Roma, who also play later on Sunday.
Crotone remain 19th with just two league wins all season.
Veteran striker Edin Dzeko scored a late winner to earn Roma a battling 1-0 win over Sampdoria, keeping his side third in the standings, while two fantastic Piotr Zielinski goals steered Napoli to a 4-1 win at Cagliari. Agencies
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