A slow-paced but ruthless Juventus have beaten SPAL 2-0 in Serie A with Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic scoring the goals.
In Saturday’s late game, Inter Milan accounted for Frosinone 3-0 to move up to second on goal difference, although they still trail the Italian champions by nine points.
Ronaldo went joint top in the scorers’ chart when he struck on 29 minutes – level on nine goals with Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek.
Mandzukic, who captained the Bianconeri for the first time as Giorgio
Chiellini sat on the bench, netted on the hour mark for his sixth for the season. Napoli can cut the deficit back to six points and reclaim second place when they host Chievo on Sunday.
At Turin’s Allianz Arena the Ferrara visitors held their ground early in the game as the champions stayed in control without taking risks. Juve broke the deadlock when Ronaldo guided home a free-kick that Miralem Pjanic curled in from the right.
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Douglas Costa came close after the break when his free-kick bounced off the post and on the hour had a searing shot parried from Alfred Gomis, who stood no chance against the pouncing Mandzukic.
“It has not been easy,” Juve coach Massimilano Allegri said as he spoke of the league’s restart after international action.
“After the last 10 breaks we only clinched 20 points, less than other opponents.” Juve are unbeaten on 37 points from 13 games with SPAL 13th. All players, coaches and referees had red marks painted on their faces as part of a Serie A campaign to combat violence against women.
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September in Nevada claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing. In Milan, Keita Balde bagged a brace to open his scoring record for Inter and Lautaro Martinez netted the Nerazzurri’s second goal.
Senegal international Balde got the opener on 10 minutes when he turned and sent a low shot under the goalkeeper.
Inter doubled their lead on 55 minutes, this time Balde crossing for Martinez to head in.
Balde, signed on loan from Monaco during the summer, wrapped things up after a swift counter attack with nine minutes left.
Roma were stunned 1-0 earlier at struggling Udinese to remain sixth on 19 points.
Rodrigo De Paul struck from inside the penalty area on 54 minutes to take the three points.