Ronaldo sends Juve above Inter

Serie A

Juventus engineered a hard-fought 2-1 win over AS Roma to move top of Serie A on Sunday evening.

Both sides came into the match unchanged from their respective clashes against Cagliari and Torino, as Juve targeted top spot to claim the Winter Champions tag yet again.

The all-conquering Italian champions wasted no time to hit the front after Merih Demiral tapped home Paulo Dybala’s free-kick from the far post following a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Juve went two up within ten minutes as Ronaldo fired home from the penalty spot after Dybala went down under a challenge from Jordan Veretout.

An injury to Demiral on 18 minutes cut his evening short, with Dutchman Matthijs De Ligt his replacement in the heart of their defence.

Roma were given an injury blow of their own in the final nine minutes of the half after Nicolo Zaniolo clattered against De Ligt, with Cengiz Under his replacement.

Veretout lost possession before halftime to Adrien Rabiot who played a through pass to the side for Ronaldo who then went and brought Pau Lopez to a one-handed palm from a shot in the area.

Juventus looked to maintain their advantage right after halftime, but Edin Dzeko almost reduced the tally when his half-volley hit the post 64 minutes gone.

A handball on the far side from Alex Sandro five minutes later earned Roma a penalty with help from the Video Assistant Referee, and Diego Perotti thumped home the resultant spot kick.

Aleksandar Kolarov had a big chance to level matters in the last ten minutes, but his free header in the area flew straight at Wojciech Szczesny, as Juve sealed victory.