Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 18th Serie A goal of the season as Juventus claimed a 3-0 win over Sassuolo to open up an 11-point lead over second place Napoli. Sami Khedira had opened the scoring on 23 minutes as he tapped into an empty net before Ronaldo returned to the outright top of the scoring charts with a header from Miralem Pjanic’s corner before Emre Can wrapped up the win late on. Napoli’s 0-0 draw at Fiorentina gave Juve the chance to open up a seemingly insurmountable lead and they duly delivered, extending their unbeaten start to the campaign to 23 matches. Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri dropped Paulo Dybala to the bench with Federico Bernardeschi preferred in attack while Wojciech Szczesny returned in goal. And the former Arsenal goalkeeper’s heart was in his mouth on four minutes as referee Paolo Mazzoleni took a long look at the video assistant referee following a coming together with Filip Djuricic. However, he upheld his original decision not to award a penalty. Last weekend Juventus blew a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 at home to Parma late on, which sparked talk of a crisis but Khedira settled any nerves when he opened the scoring on 23 minutes after Ronaldo’s effort had been saved by Andrea Consigli. With 20 minutes remaining, Ronaldo headed home a second for the visitors and celebrated by producing Dybala’s famous “mask” celebration and pointing to his teammate on the bench. Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata had briefly gone level on goals for the season with a goal against SPAL. Can then fired a low shot into the corner to make it 3-0 on 86 minutes following some good link-up play between Ronaldo and Dybala. Juventus host Frosinone in Serie A next weekend before travelling to the Wanda Metropolitano for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 first leg against Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile, Sassuolo remain in 11th as their inconsistent second half of the campaign continued and they travel to Empoli next weekend.
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