Serie A: Super sub Cristiano Ronaldo rescues 10-man Juventus against Atalanta
Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to score a late equaliser as a 10-man Juventus maintained its unbeaten Serie A streak with a 2-2 draw at Atalanta on Wednesday.
The draw helped Juventus, who dropped their first away points this season, remain nine points clear of the second-placed Napoli. With 16 victories from 18 matches, the defending league champions are on 50 points, while Napoli after the narrow defeat to Inter Milan remained on second. Atalanta are ninth with 25 points from the same rounds of games.
Ronaldo, left on the bench for the first time since moving to Italy, came to his side’s rescue nodding home from close range in the 78th minute for his 12th league goal in the season.
The home would have sealed the victory when defender Leonardo Bonucci volleyed home a free-kick in extra-time but it was cancelled for offside as both sides settled for the draw.
Juve had a perfect start as they took the lead in only the second minute when Atalanta centre-back Berat Djimsiti deflected an Alex Sandro cross into his own net. But Duvan Zapata put the home side ahead with a goal each in both the halves.
The Colombian received a pass from Alejandro Gomez with his back to the goal, turned Bonucci and then fired a low left-footer past Wojciech Szczesny in the 24th minute to level the scores for his side. But Juve, who showed enough urgency to restore the lead in the second half, were hit with a blow after midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur was sent-off for a second bookable offence.
Zapata immediately made most of the advantage heading a corner into the net just three minutes after Juventus went a man down. But Ronaldo introduced a little later, struck the net after Mario Mandzukic had headed the ball into his path from a corner.
Elsewhere, AC Milan slipped to sixth following dull drab against a struggling Frosinone. The draw meant, Milan, who have been threatened to be suspended for a season if they do not break even by June 2021, fell further behind in the race for Champions League berths.
Inter remained on third, while Lazio with a 2-0 victory at Bologna jumped to fourth. Sampdoria leapfrogged Milan to fifth after seeing-off bottom placed Chievo.