“When you have Cristiano Ronaldo with you, you always start 1-0.”

That is what Christian Vieri said after the first leg of the semifinal of Coppa Italia at the San Siro.

A few weeks back Inter had the last laugh against Juventus but this time around the story was different. Andrea Pirlo says a Serie A defeat by Internazionale helped his Juventus team address their issues and earn revenge.

Lautaro Martinez struck first and took.

The game was just eight minutes old when Martinez pressed Matthijs De Ligt higher up on the field and his clearance of the Dutch ricocheted off Martinez and behind for a goal-kick.

And there was a break from Inter and Alexi Sanchez deserved the credit for holding up the ball and bringing on Barella into play. Barella scripted an inch-perfect cross Martinez who fired back past Buffon.

The Nerazzurri took the lead with just their first shot of the match.

A succession of fouls interrupted the rhythm of the game.

Following a free-kick from a central area, Juventus work the ball over to the right for Cuadrado, and his left-footed cross is headed to the edge of the box by Barella. Alex Sandro picks it up and lashes a first-time effort well over the bar.

Cristiano Ronaldo looked for a quick one-two with Kulusevski in the 22nd minute inside the Inter penalty area, but Skriniar stands his ground and prevents the Portuguese attacker from reaching the return pass.  Ashley Young pulled Cuadrado as he tried to latch onto a cross from the left. After consulting VAR, the referee awards Juventus a penalty and showed young a yellow card.

Cristiano Ronaldo fired straight down the middle and into the roof of the net – Handanovic stood no chance with that strike.

Juventus were back in the game and Cristiano Ronaldo showing the intent to score more.

Nine minutes later a poor back-pass from Skriniar and a mix-up between Handanovic and Bastoni allowed Cristiano  Ronaldo to race through on goal. From an acute angle, Cristiano’s left-footed shot struck the far post and bounces in.

Juventus took the lead quickly.

Before the break, Juventus once again looked to attack down the left, but Bernardeschi’s cross is headed out of the box. Bentancur picks up the loose ball, sets himself, and fires a long-range strike straight at Handanovic.

After the break, Inter were seen with a lot of the ball in the opening moments. Barella drove forward down the right and is impeded by De Ligt, who subsequently picks up a yellow card.

The resulting free-kick is sent into the area by Brozovic and was initially dealt with by the visitors. Young, however, picked up the loose ball and forced Buffon to tip a long-range effort behind for a corner.

Juventus broke with real pace through McKennie in the center of the pitch, who is clipped by Arturo Vidal after playing a forward pass looking for Cristiano Ronaldo’s run. Bernardeschi created a yard of space for himself down the right and essayed a cross into the center. Demiral meets it, but his looping header was easily claimed by Handanovic.

Then Juventus sloppily lost the ball deep inside their own half following a free-kick, and Sanchez went for a goal from the center of the box – he beat Buffon, but Demiral got back onto the line to divert the strikeout for a corner.

Brozovic picked the ball up in a promising area just outside the Juventus box and seeks to play a through-ball in behind for Martinez to chase. The pair is not on the same page and the pass runs out for a goal-kick.

Juventus struggled to control the ball and a succession of fouls not only disturbed their momentum but the whole game as well.

Sanchez posed a threat – h created a space on the edge of the box and cut onto his right foot. De Ligt tracked his run all the way and lunged in to block the Chilean’s curling effort on goal.

Sanchez showed great strength and awareness to hold off a number of Juventus defenders inside the Juve box. After turning into space, he laid the ball off to Darmian to his right, and his left-footed shot from a close range is palmed away by Buffon. The rebound also evaded Martinez – an opportunity missed.

Inter created another counter – Vidal found Brozovic on the edge of the penalty area, and he flicks it around the corner for Martinez. The Argentine front-man takes a touch to set himself before sending a well-struck effort just wide of the near post.

Christian Eriksen came replacing Vidal, but before that Ivan Perisic entered replacing Young and his first involvement saw him drive down the left flank and deliver a cross into the box. Barella acrobatically meets the delivery, but his audacious attempt went wide to the left of Buffon’s goal.

Arthur came in for Bentancur while Morata took the place of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not satisfied with the substitution.

In the closing stages, Buffon’s poor pass out from the back was well collected by Perisic, who tees up Eriksen. From the edge of the area, Dane’s right-footed shot is collected by the Italian goalkeeper, who was quickly down to his left.  While McKennie tried his luck from the edge of the box, and his effort was well saved by Handanovic.

And that was it.

Juventus weathered the storm and had the edge over Inter before going to the second leg.

Looking back on the league meeting with Inter, Pirlo told Rai Sport, “We weren’t in that game, but it served as a lesson for us. From there we regrouped, worked on the errors and more victories arrived. But tonight was the first round, there’s another game to come and it’s played over 180 minutes. Nothing is done yet.”

The guys were great, they faced Inter with the right attitude from the first minute. We went behind, but we continued to play. There was a great reaction from the team.”

Ronaldo appeared unhappy when he was substituted in the 76th minute, but Pirlo explained he wanted to keep his Portuguese talisman fresh for a busy period of fixtures. “I told him that he had to come off because we have an important game on Saturday [against Roma in Serie A], so it’s right to let him catch his breath,” Pirlo said. “He’s playing many games consecutively, so every now and then a little bit of rest does some good.”

Inter’s manager, Antonio Conte, wasn’t happy with the result after Ashley Young conceded a penalty before a defensive mix up between Samir Handanovic and Alessandro Bastoni helped to put another goal on a plate for Ronaldo.

“We committed two naive errors that allowed them to go 2-1 up,” Conte said. “Otherwise it was another great performance, with many chances created. But we need to finish them because now we’re talking about a negative result. The guys gave everything, they had Juve on the ropes, they deserved a lot more.”

In the end, Cristiano Ronaldo hit the headlines.

Cristiano Ronaldo, this week, became the top goal-scorer in football history with 736 goals, adding to his titles of being the top goalscorer for Real Madrid, Portugal, and in the Champions League.

Cristiano’s figures aren’t questionable, and he moved clear of the pair with his second on the night. He scored 31 with Sporting CP, 118 with Manchester United, 451 with Real Madrid, and 111 for Juventus after his second on Tuesday. He has 102 more with Portugal.

Now, Cristiano Ronaldo can claim to be the greatest goal-scorer in the history of the game. The only player who could take the record from Cristiano in the future is Messi, who is currently in fifth place with 720 official goals.


Real Madrid congratulated Cristiano on his world record, an achievement which perhaps highlights their love for the great man – Santiago Bernabeu still loves their hero.

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