Juventus 2-0 SPAL: Pjanic and Ronaldo lift Bianconeri

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Juventus found SPAL's Etrit Berisha in excellent form on Saturday, but goals from Miralem Pjanic and Cristiano Ronaldo earned a 2-0 win.
Juventus found SPAL's Etrit Berisha in excellent form on Saturday, but goals from Miralem Pjanic and Cristiano Ronaldo earned a 2-0 win.

Miralem Pjanic's stunning effort and a late header from Cristiano Ronaldo saw Juventus move top of Serie A with a 2-0 victory over struggling SPAL.

Juve dominated throughout Saturday's encounter in Turin, but they found visiting goalkeeper Etrit Berisha in fine form.

It took a sublime strike from Pjanic to beat him - the playmaker breaking SPAL's resistance with a wonderful effort in the 45th minute.

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Having been denied by Berisha once more just after the hour, Ronaldo finally had his goal with 12 minutes remaining, heading home from Paulo Dybala's pinpoint cross to cap off a dominant Juve performance.

On his return after missing the victory over Brescia, Ronaldo had Juve's first sight of goal, drawing a smart stop from Berisha.

Ronaldo did beat Berisha in the 19th minute, but his deflected effort crept wide of the right-hand upright.

Berisha soon came to SPAL's rescue twice more, tipping Dybala's strike wide before he brilliantly kept out Aaron Ramsey's close-range header.

But his work was undone on the stroke of half-time - Pjanic curling home an exceptional first-time finish from the edge of the area after SPAL's goalkeeper mistakenly elected to punch, rather than catch, a cross.

Berisha made another outstanding stop early in the second half - this time getting down to repel Sami Khedira's header.

Dybala and Ronaldo tested Berisha in quick succession as Juve looked to press home their dominance, though it was not until the duo combined that the hosts finally had their second.

Having raced clear down the left, Dybala picked out his strike partner with an exquisite delivery from which Ronaldo made no mistake, though there was still time for Berisha to make a final stop to prevent the Portugal forward doubling his tally in the final minute.

 

What does it mean? Juve back on top... for now

It does not look likely to be an easy ride for Maurizio Sarri's side in Serie A this season, though the champions moved into pole position with this win, temporarily at least.

Inter, however, would move back above the Bianconeri if they keep up their perfect start to the season against lowly Sampdoria.

Berisha blunts Juve's attack

Juve's dominant performance should have resulted in a far more convincing scoreline, and it would have done if not for Berisha. However, SPAL's star performer did make an error when he flapped at a cross prior to Pjanic's opener and he could also have done better with Ronaldo's goal.

Juve's wasteful attack a cause for concern

Sarri shoehorned both Dybala and Ronaldo in to his team, but while the individual quality of Juve's star attackers is not in doubt, as a partnership they failed to click until the Argentina international teed up the former Real Madrid star for the hosts' second.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast did not offer enough and, had SPAL been able to offer more of a threat up front, Juve may well have failed to take the points from a match they dominated from the off.

What's next?

Juve host Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday, while SPAL face Parma in their next Serie A outing.

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