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Juventus suffer Cristiano Ronaldo blow amid draw with coronavirus-hit Lazio

Meanwhile, Inter Milan were also held by Atalanta.

Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected during the Serie A match between Lazio and Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected during the Serie A match between Lazio and Juventus.
Image: Imago/PA Images

ECUADOR’S FELIPE Caicedo came off the bench for Lazio to deny Juventus a win on Sunday with a 1-1 stalemate in Rome as Inter Milan were held by the same scoreline at Atalanta.

Cristiano Ronaldo had put Juventus ahead after a quarter of an hour but the Serie A champions let the game slip when the Portugal star limped off with an ankle sprain and Caicedo fired in five minutes into injury time.

Juve missed the chance to move second behind Serie A leaders AC Milan. Instead they drop two places to fifth, trailing their northern rivals, who host Hellas Verona later on Sunday, by three points.

“Ronaldo is a crucial player,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

“They are the ones who make you win games. Championships are won on details, too bad for those last ten seconds.”

Defender Leonardo Bonucci added: “We played like Juventus for 93 minutes and 45 seconds, but then we conceded a goal because we eased off.”

Napoli moved up into third place, with a Victor Osimhen header sealing a 1-0 win over Bologna.

Roma are equal on points with Napoli, both one point ahead of Juventus, after a Henrikh Mkhitaryan hat-trick delivered a 3-1 win for the capital side at Genoa.

Inter Milan and Atalanta shared the points in Bergamo after Aleksey Miranchuk scored on his first Serie A start for the hosts to cancel out Lautaro Martinez’s header.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are sixth, just ahead of Inter who have won only three of their seven league games this season.

- Lazio ‘calm’ in Covid storm -

Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio, embroiled in coronavirus chaos, are ninth, five points off the leaders.

The Roman club are being investigated by the Italian football federation for possible Covid violations after UEFA blocked some players from Champions League games at Club Brugge and Zenit after testing positive.

However, the players, including forward Ciro Immobile, were involved in the game against Torino last weekend, following negative tests carried out in a lab used by the club.

Immobile, midfielder Lucas Leiva and goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha were all left out on Sunday after a further round of tests.

“This team has heart, difficulties are part of our DNA,” said Inzaghi, adding he was “calm” despite the current crisis.

Ronaldo again proved decisive for Pirlo’s men scoring his sixth goal in four games off a Juan Cuadrado cross.

The 35-year-old had two further chances for a second, rattling the post before Pepe Reina tipped a free-kick over the bar. 

The Lazio keeper also denied Adrien Rabiot just before the hour mark.

But with Pirlo’s side looking in control, Ronaldo went off with 15 minutes to go after taking a knock to his right ankle, and his absence once again hit the champions.

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Caicedo, who came on early in the second half, once again had the final word. 

He picked up a Correa cross and swivelled to fire in the equaliser as Juventus drew for the fourth time in seven league games.

“A goal like this leaves me speechless,” said Caicedo, who also scored in the midweek 1-1 Champions League draw at Zenit Saint-Petersburg and clinched the winner in last weekend’s 4-3 victory at Torino.

- ‘Killer instinct’ -

Inter and Atalanta settled for a point, days after Champions League defeats to Real Madrid and Liverpool respectively.

Former Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Miranchuk came off the bench just before the hour and scored 19 minutes later in his first game for the home side.

Romelu Lukaku returned from a thigh strain, playing the final quarter of an hour, but could not find a winner for Inter.

“We’re lacking a bit of the killer instinct to take home games,” said coach Antonio Conte. 

In Genoa, Mkhitaryan extended Roma’s unbeaten run to six games despite the absence of captain Edin Dzeko with coronavirus, the Armenia attacker heading in the first just before the break, adding two more in the final 25 minutes.

Nigerian striker Osimhen sealed all three points for Napoli at Bologna, when he connected with a Hirving Lozano cross after 23 minutes, with the visitors having a second goal ruled out by VAR.

In addition, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty before scoring a late equaliser as Serie A leaders AC Milan salvaged a point in a 2-2 Serie A draw against Hellas Verona.

Stefano Pioli’s Milan had the chance to pull four points clear at the top of the table in the final match before the international break.

But the leaders were two goals down in the San Siro after Antonin Barak opened the scoring in the sixth minute and Milan defender Davide Calabria bundled into his own goal quarter of an hour later.

Ibrahimovic had a chance for the equaliser after 66 minutes, after Verona defender Giangiacomo Magnani’s own goal had reduced the deficit for the hosts.

But the 39-year-old embarrassingly fired over the crossbar before redeeming himself deep into injury time by heading in his eighth league goal this season.

Milan avoided a first league defeat after their 24-match unbeaten run was ended with a Europa League loss to Lille during the week.

Pioli’s side are top of Serie A with a two-point advantage on second-placed Sassuolo, who were held to a goalless draw against Udinese on Friday.

© – AFP, 2020

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