Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Juve thump Cagliari - GulfToday

Ronaldo scores hat-trick as Juve thump Cagliari


Juventus’ forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal against Cagliari during their Italian League match in Turin on Monday. Agence France-Presse

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a second-half hat-trick to lead Serie A champions Juventus to a 4-0 win at home to Cagliari on Monday, taking his tally to eight goals in his last five league games.

The Portuguese pounced on a mistake in the Cagliari defence to break the deadlock four minutes after halftime before adding the second from a penalty as he scored for the fifth league game in the row.

After setting up Gonzalo Higuain for the third in the 81st minute, he completed the rout by finishing off a counter-attack one minute later.

The win left Juventus top of Serie A with 45 points from 18 games.

Ronaldo took his tally this season to 15 goals, including 13 in Serie A.

Bologna forward Riccardo Orsolini rifled in a free kick from the unlikeliest of angles deep into stoppage time to give his side a 1-1 draw to Fiorentina and deny Giuseppe Iachini a winning start as coach of the visiting side.

Orsolini, who had wasted a number of corners for midtable Bologna with his poor delivery throughout the match, fired his shot straight into the roof of the net from near the byline to extend Fiorentina’s winless run to eight league matches.

Iachini, wearing his trademark baseball cap, replaced Vincenzo Montella who was fired following a 4-1 home defeat by AS Roma in December.

Fiorentina had taken the lead with an equally spectacular effort by Marco Benassi in the 29th minute. The Bologna defence headed clear a free kick and Benassi met the ball first time and sent a dipping volley into the far corner from the edge of the area.

The two goals were out of place in a generally scrappy and disappointing match. Fiorentina, taken over by US billionaire Rocco Commisso in the summer, are 15th in the table with 18 points, only four clear of the relegation zone, while Bologna are 10th.

Meanwhile, Mario Balotelli lashed out on Sunday after again being targeted by racist insults, this time from Lazio fans after he scored for Brescia in a 2-1 defeat, telling his tormentors: “Shame on you”.

“A defeat that hurts but we will come back stronger and we are on the right track,” the 29-year-old wrote on Instagram.

“Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU! #saynotoracism.”

Balotelli struck the first goal after 18 minutes at Brescia’s Stadio Mario Rigamonti before title-chasers Lazio hit back with a Ciro Immobile double.

But the game was overshadowed by insulting chants aimed at Italy international Balotelli.

The former Manchester City and Liverpool player was targeted every time he got the ball.

“It’s already the second time,” Balotelli was heard telling referee Gianluca Manganiello after half an hour, with the latter replying: “Now I’ll take care of it”.

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi gestured wildly in front of the visiting fans to stop the chanting, as an announcement was read over the stadium speakers reminding spectators that play would be suspended and their club penalised if they continued.

Brescia fans tried to drown out the insults with whistles and cheering which Balotelli applauded.

In November, Balotelli was the target of monkey chants at Verona.

Brescia president Massimo Cellino also came under fire after describing Balotelli’s difficult situation at the promoted Serie A club as “black”.

Italian stadiums are the scene of recurrent racist incidents, including monkey chants, and this season Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Fiorentina’s Dalbert have all been victims.

An anti-racism campaign launched by Serie A featuring three monkeys last month drew widespread criticism and ridicule.

Balotelli picked up where he left off before the winter break pulling clear of Luiz Felipe to volley in his first home goal for Brescia and first of the decade.


Italian League results on Monday:

Bologna 1 (Orsolini 90+4) Fiorentina 1 (Benassi 27)

AC Milan 0 Sampdoria 0

Juventus 4 (Ronaldo 49, 67-pen, 82, Higuain 81) Cagliari 0

Atalanta 5 (Gomez 11, Freuler 34, Gosens 43, Ilicic 60, 71) Parma 0.

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