SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 4 - 16 Sep 2018 (14.00 UK)
Juventus 2 - 1 Sassuolo
Ronaldo 50, 65 (J), Babacar 91 (S)
Allianz Stadium

Cristiano Ronaldo broke his drought with a brace as Juventus beat Sassuolo 2-1, but Douglas Costa faces a lengthy ban for spitting.

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This was surprisingly a top of the table showdown between first and second, plus the only two sides still unbeaten after three rounds. Paulo Dybala returned to the starting XI after two games on the bench, while Emre Can got his first start, with Giorgio Chiellini and Miralem Pjanic rested. Mattia De Sciglio was meant to start, but pulled out in the warm-up. Sassuolo were on fine form with Kevin-Prince Boateng, bringing Filip Djuricic into the trident attack with Francesco Magnanelli not fully fit.

Sassuolo have a dire record in Turin, losing all five of their previous Serie A visits.

Emre Can’s chest and half-volley went wide, while Gian Marco Ferrari had a great chance from a corner, his header straight at Wojciech Szczesny.

Marlon was caught in possession by Blaise Matuidi, as Sassuolo scrambled to charge down first Dybala and then Mario Mandzukic efforts.

Pol Lirola almost scored a spectacular own goal on 37 minutes, sliding on to a cross at the back post, but Andrea Consigli performed a fantastic reaction save.

Alfred Duncan did have the ball in the Juventus net, but only after Djuricic had fouled Cancelo.

Sassuolo started the second half in very clumsy fashion, risking an own goal yet again as Mandzukic knocked a ball down for Khedira.

On the following corner, Ferrari nodded it on to the upright and Cristiano Ronaldo pounced on the rebound from a yard. Just like last season at Real Madrid, it took CR7 28 attempts to get his opening goal.

Boateng’s cheeky back-heel flick dribbled not far wide, but Juve doubled their lead with that man Ronaldo clearly having opened the floodgates. Douglas Costa started the counter from a Sassuolo corner, Emre Can’s slide-rule pass sent Ronaldo running and his angled drive into the far bottom corner beat Consigli.

It was almost 3-0 when Douglas Costa’s finish flashed across the face of goal, but Wojciech Szczesny flew to palm away a long-range Alfred Duncan strike.

Ronaldo wasted a golden opportunity for the hat-trick, volleying all the way across the face of goal from close range. He kicked the upright in frustration.

Sassuolo were still alive and Boateng’s diving header from five yards just failed to make contact with a Lirola cross.

Ronaldo could comfortably have had four goals, but again fluffed his lines in the easiest opportunities. Consigli only beat a Cancelo strike into his path and the Ballon d’Or winner fired the rebound wide from close range.

Douglas Costa drilled wide, but Sassuolo set up a tense finale with Khouma Babacar’s towering header into the far bottom corner.

The tension got too much for Douglas Costa, who took his row with Federico Di Francesco too far. First he seemed to raise an elbow towards him, but after the goal was caught on camera spitting in his face from point-blank range. The VAR officials alerted the referee, who promptly sent him off and that will be a lengthy ban.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Benatia, Alex Sandro (Cuadrado 80); Emre Can (Bentancur 71), Khedira, Matuidi; Dybala, Mandzukic (Douglas Costa 61), Cristiano Ronaldo
Sassuolo: Consigli; Lirola, Marlon, Ferrari, Rogerio (Dell’Orco 72); Duncan, Locatelli (Babacar 82), Bourabia; Berardi, Boateng, Djuricic (Di Francesco 61)
Ref: Chiffi

Sent off: Douglas Costa 94 (J)