Milan – Cristiano Ronaldo broke his Juventus duck in his fourth game when his second-half brace gave them a 2-1 win over Sassuolo on Sunday.
However, the Turin side’s day was marred by a red card for Douglas Costa for spitting at an opponent.
The five-times World Player of the Year opened his account in the easiest possible fashion by tapping into an empty net from less than two metres in the 50th minute, then finished off a counter-attack 15 minutes later.
Khouma Babacar headed one back in the 90th minute but the game ended in ugly scenes as Costa became involved in a running feud with Sassoulo midfielder Federico Di Francesco.
The Brazilian escaped with a booking for elbowing and then head-butting his rival as they tangled before the Sassuolo goal, but was then sent off after cameras caught him spitting at the same player in another altercation.
Juventus, chasing an eighth successive Serie A title, have 12 points, three ahead of Napoli, while Sassuolo are on eight after their first defeat of the season.
“I was a little bit anxious as expectations were high,” said Ronaldo. “I really wanted to score, so I’m happy.”
Sassuolo allowed Ronaldo few openings in the first half apart from an early shot which was blocked and a header which went wide from Alex Sandro’s cross.
He also tried his luck from a 30-metre free kick but sent a disappointing effort harmlessly wide of Andrea Consigli’s goal.
But Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri’s prediction that it would be Ronaldo’s day proved to be right.
Ronaldo’s luck changed when Sassuolo defender Gian Marco Ferrari headed a corner onto his own post and the rebound left Ronaldo with the easiest of tap-ins.
Sassuolo, who caused Juventus trouble all afternoon, were then caught on the break, with Emre Can sliding the ball to Ronaldo to drill an angled left-foot shot into the far corner.
Ronaldo could easily have had a hat-trick but missed two more good chances and also had a penalty appeal turned down.
He volleyed wide from an unmarked position six metres out and also failed to hit the target when the rebound landed at his feet as Joao Cancelo’s shot was saved by Consigli.
Roma were left with only five points from four games after another unhappy afternoon.
Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante put them 2-0 ahead in under half an hour, but Chievo hit back after the break as Valter Birsa curled in a delightful effort and Mariusz Stepinski levelled with seven minutes left.
Winless Chievo are on minus one point after having three deducted on Thursday by the Italian federation over accounting irregularities.
A second-half goal by Krzysztof Piatek gave Genoa a 1-0 win over Bologna in another match marred by ugly scenes after the visitors had Erick Pulgar sent off for a shocking tackle on Romulo, sparking a scuffle involving a number of players.
Torino midfielder Soualiho Meite was hero and villain in his team’s 1-1 draw at Udinese.
His mistake led to Rodrigo de Paul’s opener for Udinese but the Frenchman made amends with the equaliser after halftime. (Reuters/NAN)