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Ronaldo on the double as Juve set new Serie A points record


Ronaldo gave the defending champions an early lead. Photo: Reuters/Massimo Pinca

Ronaldo gave the defending champions an early lead. Photo: Reuters/Massimo Pinca

Ronaldo gave the defending champions an early lead. Photo: Reuters/Massimo Pinca

Cristiano Ronaldo's brace in a 2-1 win over Sampdoria helped Juventus set a Serie A record for most points registered in the first half of a season.

Ronaldo (pictured above) gave the defending champions an early lead and, after Fabio Quagliarella had equalised with a first-half penalty, the Portuguese converted a controversial spot-kick awarded in the 65th minute.

That effort was Juve's 100th goal of 2018 in all competitions.

Both penalties were awarded for handballs after referee Paolo Valeri had consulted with the video assistant referee.

Sampdoria thought they had drawn level in stoppage time through substitute Riccardo Saponara, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside after Valeri had again checked the replay.

Juve, chasing their eighth successive league title, extended their unbeaten league start to 19 matches and have dropped only four points in the process.

Napoli bounced back to winning ways after their St Stephen's Day defeat at Inter Milan thanks to Dries Mertens' late strike in a 3-2 home win against Bologna.

Arkadiusz Milik had given Napoli the lead in both halves, but Bologna hit back twice through Federico Santander and Danilo before Mertens' arrowed home an 88th-minute winner.

Keita Balde's second-half strike secured Inter a hard-fought 1-0 win at lowly Empoli, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic lashed home a second-half equaliser for Lazio, who were held 1-1 at home against Torino.

Milinkovic-Savic's bullet just after the hour-mark rescued Lazio a point after Torino striker Andrea Belotti had converted a penalty in first-half stoppage time.

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Lazio defender Adam Marusic and Torino midfielder Soualiho Meite were both sent off for arguing with the referee late in the game.

Gonzalo Higuain fired AC Milan's winner as they came back from behind to beat SPAL 2-1 at home.

Samu Castillejo equalised for Milan soon after Andrea Petagna had given SPAL a 13th-minute lead and Higuain struck the winner midway through the second half.

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma made two fine stoppage-time saves to deny SPAL shortly after team-mate Suso had been dismissed for his second bookable offence.

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