Cristiano Ronaldo 35, who missed four games, marked his recovery from the coronavirus by scoring twice on his return, slotted in to make it 2-1 three minutes after coming on in the second half to help Juventus beat newly promoted Spezia 4-1 in the Italian league on Sunday.
As Juventus struggled to break Spezia down until Ronaldo was brought on as a substitute in the 56th minute. He put Juventus 2-1 up three minutes later and also converted a penalty to seal the result for the Bianconeri.
Coach Andrea Pirlo made comments on the team performance;
“We had a good game, we should have been more clinical in the first half and finished off the match sooner,” Juventus.
“Then we did well when we came back out in the second half, with the desire to win the match, and Cristiano gave us a hand.”
Juventus moved third, four points below early leader AC Milan, which won 2-1 at Udinese thanks to a late winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Surprising Sassuolo moved to within two points of Milan with a 2-0 win at Napoli.
Ronaldo had been out for three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty. The Portugal forward missed three Juventus matches — draws with Crotone and Hellas Verona in Serie A as well as a loss to Barcelona in the Champions League.
Ronaldo started from the bench against Spezia with Alvaro Morata again replacing him in the starting lineup.
Ronaldo replaced Paulo Dybala early in the second half and he had an immediate impact when he ran onto Morata’s through-ball, rounded the goalkeeper and scored into an empty net.
Fellow substitute Adrien Rabiot extended Juve’s lead and the Bianconeri were awarded a penalty when Paolo Bartolomei tripped up Federico Chiesa.
Ronaldo second was a cheeky Panenka penalty after Adrien Rabiot’s cool finish had given Juve a two-goal advantage.
Ibrahimovic continued to roll back the years with an overhead kick seven minutes from time to snatch all three points for Milan, which extended its unbeaten run to 23 matches.
Alvaro Morata gave the visitors the lead with a low angled strike before Tommaso Pobega equalised for Spezia.
The Turin club move up to second in the table with 12 points, four behind leaders AC Milan.