Cristiano Ronaldo’s two late goals brought Juventus a 2-1 win against Udinese on Sunday, giving the Turin club a precious three points in the race of the four best series.
Juve climbed to third place with 69 points, with Atalanta in second and AC Milan in fourth, but two points ahead of fifth-placed Napoli.
The visiting defense was caught napping as Udinese winger Nahuel Molina took a quick free-kick after 10 minutes, firing in from an acute angle.
But Rodrigo De Paul reached out to block Ronaldo’s free kick with the remaining seven minutes, and the Portuguese converted the resulting penalty to end his three-goal goalless streak.
Ronaldo then in the 89th minute of the winner from close range headed towards the season to the 27 highest goals in Serie A in the league in 30 appearances.
However, Andrea Pirla made a spectacular save.
“If we’re happy with these 10 minutes, it means we didn’t understand anything,” said Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci. Sky Italy. “We can’t change the speed and that’s how to continue the whole game, it’s the hardest to understand.
“Matches are decided by episodes, after so many games you have to pay attention to detail. We’ve thrown points too many times because of the details.”
Juve knew before the kick-off that they had a chance to ground in the top four after Atalanta and Napoli drew against Sassuolo and Cagliari.
But they started the worst possible start when De Paul found Molina with a quick free kick and he punched in the finish.
It was the tenth consecutive league game in which Juve conceded a bang after a wide header from six yards, and Paul Dybala’s deflected shot required a smart save from Simone Sat at least one goal, their worst record since April 2010.
Juve’s Weston McKennie stayed to hit the ground in a frcuffet.
But the chances of the guests were rare until Ronaldo’s decisive contribution in the final stage.
With De Paula’s hand, he gave the Portuguese striker a chance to shoot a penalty into the bottom corner, and the 36-year-old turned the game with his head when he nodded with Adrien Rabiot’s header on the back post.