MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo marked his birthday by setting up Juventus to beat Roma 2-0 in Serie A on Saturday.
Ronaldo turned 36 on Friday then showed little sign of slowing down as he scored and also hit the crossbar in the first half. An own goal by Roma defender Roger Ibañez sealed the win for a clinical Juve.
“We’d prepared for this sort of game. We knew that Roma play very good football and we were ready to sit tight and hit them on the break,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said.
“We might play this way again in future because when you’re playing every three days it’s not easy to always have the energy to close down the opposition.”
Juventus leapfrogged Roma into third place. It is five points below leader Inter Milan, which won at Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday. Juventus has played a match less than Inter and Roma. AC Milan can retake top spot on Sunday with a victory over bottom-placed Crotone.
Napoli and Atalanta failed to close in on the top four after disappointing results. Napoli lost at Genoa 2-1 and Atalanta let slip a three-goal advantage to draw Torino at home 3-3.
The Juve-Roma match in Turin was a head-to-head for third place but also came between the two legs of the Italian Cup semifinals between Juventus and Inter, with the Bianconeri leading 2-1.
Juventus took the lead in the 13th minute when Alex Sandro spun away from his marker to roll across for Álvaro Morata, who laid it off for a criminally unmarked Ronaldo to fire into the bottom right corner.
Ronaldo also scored both goals in Tuesday’s win over Inter.
Ronaldo almost doubled his tally nine minutes later but his effort came off the underside of the bar and bounced on the wrong side of the line for Juve.
Roma had more of the possession but couldn’t make it count and Juventus doubled its lead in the 69th. Juan Cuadrado found Dejan Kulusevski in the area and he crossed for Ronaldo. Ibañez got there first but managed only to turn the ball into his own net.
Relegation-threatened Torino fought back from three goals down to draw at Atalanta in an extraordinary match in Bergamo.
Seventh-placed Atalanta was looking to close in on the top four, and matters appeared to be going to plan at 3-0 up inside 21 minutes thanks to Josip Iličić’s opener, an own goal from Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, and a strike by Luis Muriel.
Torino got back into the match on the stroke of halftime with two goals in four minutes.
Andrea Belotti won a penalty after having his shirt tugged by José Luis Palomino. The Torino captain’s spot kick was saved but he fired home the rebound.
Torino reduced the deficit still further in first-half stoppage time with a Bremer follow-up after Rolando Mandragora’s strike came off the crossbar.
Forward Goran Pandev scored twice against his former Napoli club for Genoa to continue its revival under coach Davide Ballardini.
Pandev netted his goals in the first half and Matteo Politano pulled one back 11 minutes from time to set up a tense finale.
Genoa moved up to 11th, nine points above the relegation zone, after its fourth win in five league matches. The team was in 19th place, four points below safety when Ballardini replaced Rolando Maran just over a month ago.
Napoli remained fifth, three points below Roma, which has played a match more.