Ronaldo, Ancelotti make winning starts

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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VERONA, Italy (AFP) — Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score but helped get Juventus title defence off the mark with a 3-2 win against Chievo, as Carlo Ancelotti began life as Napoli coach also with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Lazio in the opening matches of the 2018-2019 league season yesterday.

The 33-year-old Ronaldo, who joined the Turin giants from Real Madrid last month in a deal worth 100 million euros (US$114.5 million), clenched his fists with delight despite missing a series of chances after his team's hard-fought first three points.

The champions were made to work after Germany international Sami Khedira opened the scoring after just three minutes at Bentegodi Stadium for the seven-time defending champions.

Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski headed in a 37th-minute equaliser for Chievo, with Emanuele Giaccherini slotting in a penalty after 56 minutes following a foul by new Juventus -signing Joao Cancelo.

But Chievo's Mattia Bani turned into his own net after 75 minutes following pressure from returning Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, to pull the champions level.

In a frantic finale substitute Federico Bernardeschi scored the winner in injury time after Mario Mandzukic had a goal disallowed and Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was floored and required medical assistance.

“Cristiano held up well on his debut. It's a pity he didn't score but he worked well with the team after only seven days together,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Ronaldo came close to his first Serie A goal in the 18th minute from a Juan Cuadrado cross but drilled just wide, with Cuadrado firing over minutes later despite having the Portuguese striker well-placed — before Douglas Costa curled over the crossbar.

Ancelotti, meanwhile, has returned to his native Italy after a successful, trophy-laden nine years at clubs including Chelsea and Real Madrid.

The 59-year-old took over from Maurizio Sarri in Napoli, promising to end the club's 28-year wait for a Serie A trophy.

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