Cristiano Ronaldo’s brace took Juventus a step closer to the Serie A title and put him level with Ciro Immobile, who also converted a penalty for Lazio, in the Capocannoniere charts.
This was meant to be a Scudetto showdown, with only one point separating them going into the lockdown, but the Aquile had suffered an injury crisis and slipped down to fourth place. They came to Turin without Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa, Jony, Joaquin Correa, Senad Lulic, Stefan Radu, Lucas Leiva, Adam Marusic and suspended Patric, so Djavan Anderson was given his first Serie A start after four brief substitute appearances. Juve had Federico Bernardeschi banned, Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Sami Khedira sidelined, but Maurizio Sarri had surprisingly picked Gonzalo Higuain to start. Pipita pulled out during the warm-up with a muscular issue, so Paulo Dybala stepped in at the last minute.
Lazio had already beaten Juventus twice this season, both times 3-1 in December for Serie A and the Italian Supercup.
Leonardo Bonucci had to make a crucial block on Immobile’s through ball for Felipe Caicedo, but Alex Sandro’s header hit the outside of the post after a free kick was not cleared effectively.
Dybala turned on the style with some magical footwork to squirm away from two players at the corner flag, while Danilo Cataldi’s deflected strike whistled just wide after good work from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luiz Felipe charged down an Aaron Ramsey effort.
Adrien Rabiot turned on the turbo to run from midfield and shoot from an improbable angle, forcing Strakosha to palm it over the bar. On the resulting corner, Ronaldo’s header flashed wide.
Lazio almost took the lead on the stroke of half-time, as Ciro Immobile unleashed a ferocious strike from the D that bounced off the base of the upright with Wojciech Szczesny beaten. It was nearly his 30th Serie A goal of the season, ending a three-game drought.
There was a huge Juventus chance straight after the restart, as Dybala went on a slalom through defenders, Strakosha only parried into the path of Ronaldo, who tried to prod in from the ground, but Manuel Lazzari got back for a goal-line clearance.
Moments later, Bastos clumsily charged down Ronaldo’s shot with his arm and the referee awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. However, VAR showed his arm was inside the box and it was therefore yet another handball penalty. Ronaldo converted, even though Strakosha almost got his hand to it, to give Juventus the lead and become the first player to score 50 goals in Serie A, the Premier League and La Liga.
Lazio crumbled psychologically, as Luiz Felipe was caught horribly in possession in the centre-circle by Dybala, who sprinted forward and generously rolled it across for Ronaldo to tap in. That allowed him to leapfrog Immobile and go top of the Capocannoniere charts on 30 goals, the first Juve player to score 30 since John Hansen in 1951-52.
CR7 wanted a hat-trick and almost got it, but his header thumped the crossbar on another delightful Dybala floated cross after getting away from Bastos.
Dybala stopped the ball dead out of the air with a magnificent first touch, dribbled past a defender and brought a save out of Strakosha at the near post.
Andre Anderson came off the bench and immediately had a great chance for Lazio, his scorching strike fingertipped over the bar by Szczesny. On the resulting corner, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s header was over with Szczesny stranded.
Juventus looked comfortable, but as with so many occasions in recent weeks, they were caught napping. Leonardo Bonucci didn’t realise Immobile was running up behind him and by the time he tried to kick the ball away, he only caught the striker. It was a penalty and Immobile converted into the near bottom corner for his 30th of the season. Like Ronaldo, he too has converted 12 penalties.
Lazio were suddenly revitalised and started to pin Juventus back into their own half, Szczesny flying to palm a Milinkovic-Savic free kick out of the near top corner of the net.
Inzaghi threw on two debutants and Raul Moro sprinted towards goal, forcing Bonucci to make a crucial last-ditch sliding tackle on the teenager.
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