Ronaldo ties Serie A record in 1000th game

Rome, Cristiano Ronaldo struck for an 11th successive league game to help Serie A leaders Juventus beat tailenders SPAL 2-1 on Saturday and move four points clear of chasers Lazio.

He equals a record run set by Gabriel Batistuta with Fiorentina in 1994-95 and Sampdoria’s Fabio Quagliarella in 2018-19.

The run of Argentinian Batistuta was uninterrupted, while Ronaldo rested in the previous round of matches and Quagliarella also had a break, dpa reported.

Ronaldo, now on 21 league goals, played what many statisticians say was his 1,000th senior career game, but neither he nor Juve celebrated the event, seemingly sticking with a tally of 998.

He turned in a first-half cross from Juan Cuadrado after a post-shaking drive by Paulo Dybala, who on the hour set up Aaron Ramsey’s classy finish. Andrea Petagna pulled one back for the hosts with a penalty awarded after video review.

Ronaldo sent a free-kick against the bar late in the game after the exit of Juve veteran captain Giorgio Chiellini, who started the game six months after knee surgery to treat a torn cruciate ligament.

It was important to win tonight as we go into a tough week, Ramsey said as Juve visit Lyon in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday. The boys were great and we managed to get the three points on a difficult pitch.

The win in Ferrara showed improvement from Juve’s recent dull showings and will keep them ahead of second-place Lazio, who are still to visit third-last Genoa on Sunday.

Third-place Inter Milan, who host lowly Sampdoria, sit six points behind the Turin champions and will visit them on March 1.

The day’s closing match in Florence saw 10-man Fiorentina salvage a 1-1 draw against AC Milan, who had Croatia international Ante Rebic net a sixth goal in the last six games.

The former Fiorentina striker struck in the second half, pouncing on a poor pass from Martin Caceres and having his shot deflected by Erick Pulgar.

Brazil defender Dalbert was then red-carded for a last man foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Pulgar levelled from the spot after Alessio Romagnoli floored his ex team-mate Patrick Cutrone.

Milan remain out of the Europa League zone, trailing on goal difference sixth-placed Napoli, who won 2-1 at second-last Brescia on Friday and fill the second available slot.

In earlier action Bologna veteran Rodrigo Palacio scored a stoppage-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw with visiting Udinese.

Stefano Okaka nodded home in the first half for the Udine side, but the 38-year-old Argentinian striker flicked home two minutes into added time to salvage a point.

Bologna remained 10th, two points off the Europa League places, while Udinese sit five points from the drop zone, two points behind Fiorentina.

Six games complete matchday 25 on Sunday.

Source: Bahrain News Agency