Atalanta deny Juve despite Ronaldo double

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in their Serie A draw with Atalana in Turin.
Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in their Serie A draw with Atalana in Turin.

If anyone still doubted Atalanta's credentials in Serie A or the Champions League a 2-2 draw Juventus on Saturday showed just how competitive "the Dea" can be.

Juventus needed two penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo - including a 90th-minute equaliser - to prevent Atalanta from winning their 12th-straight match in all competitions.

"We faced the team that has the best form in Europe right now," Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri said.

"Playing against Atalanta is an enormous problem right now; not just for us but for everyone."

Duvan Zapata gave Atalanta an early lead before Ronaldo levelled for the first time after the break.

Second-half substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi scored 10 minutes from time to set up a late assault from Juventus.

"We wanted to see where we were at, because we're going to be facing teams like this in the Champions League," Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said.

"We were able to do everything we intended to do."

Still, Juventus stretched their lead over second-placed Lazio to eight points.

Although with six rounds remaining, third-placed Atalanta - who are a point behind Lazio and have scored 20 more goals than Juve this season - might be the Bianconeri's biggest challenger.

Motivated to play for Bergamo, which has had more than 6,000 deaths from the coronavirus, Atalanta are shaping up as a dangerous opponent for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.

With 28 goals in 28 games, Ronaldo moved within one of Lazio's Ciro Immobile atop the league scoring chart.

Portuguese ace Ronaldo has scored in all six of Juve's league games since the resumption of the campaign.

Lazio's once-promising bid for a first league title in two decades has been decimated since the restart.

They conceded in stoppage-time as visitors Sassuolo prevailed 2-1 to inflict a third loss in a row on Lazio.

Inside a scorching Stadio Olimpico, Francesco Caputo nodded in the winner for his 16th goal of the season to give Sassuolo a fourth straight victory and eighth spot.

Luis Alberto gave Lazio an early lead with a deflected shot before Giacomo Raspadori equalised after the break with his first Serie A goal.

Fifth-placed Roma won 3-0 at Brescia 3-0 with goals from Federico Fazio, Nikola Kalinic and Nicolo Zaniolo.

Australian Associated Press