Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as voracious Italian champions Juventus finished 2018 on a high with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria to set a new points record in Serie A before the winter break.
Ronaldo curled in the opener after just two minutes in Turin adding a second from the penalty spot on 65 minutes, putting the Portuguese top of Serie A’s scoring charts on 14 goals.
Fabio Quagliarella pulled the Genoa outfit level with a penalty on 33 minutes, but a late Riccardo Saponara goal was ruled offside after consultation with the video assistant referee.
“It was important to end the year on a high and it wasn’t at all easy,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri.
VAR proved decisive in the game with Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo, dismissing Ronaldo’s penalty as “a gift,” adding “that Saponara goal should never have been cancelled”.
“Juventus are strong, they consume everything. They are a cannibal,” said Giampaolo. “For me, morally, the game was 2-2.”
Juventus open up a 12-point lead at the top of Serie A ahead of Napoli who can reduce the gap when they host Bologna later on Saturday. Inter Milan are third two points behind Napoli.
Seven-time reigning champions Juventus also have a record number of points before the three-week winter break with 53 from 19 games. “Records are meaningless, if not to improve and raise the bar,” said Allegri.
The reigning champions have dropped points just twice, being held 1-1 by Genoa at home in October and 2-2 against Atalanta midweek, and are firmly on track for an eighth consecutive Scudetto.
“With Ronaldo, the perception is different. He’s the best player in the world,” continued Allegri. “37 points, give or take a few, are missing for the Scudetto.”