Juventus seemed headed for an atrocious defeat that would have set them spiraling in the race for the top four. But Cristiano Ronaldo managed to save the day, scoring from the spot and then heading home to rescue a victory from the jaws of defeat.
Udinese have been tricky customers for Juve in the second half of the season, but, this time, the Bianconeri managed to get the win. Here are three takeaways from a performance that wasn’t good at all, but was relieving nonetheless.
Cristiano Ronaldo covers a lot of blemishes
This win over Udinese is yet another piece of evidence that Juventus need Cristiano Ronaldo. And in order to keep CR7 around, Juve must qualify for next season’s Champions League. Well who better than to ensure this than the man himself?
Ronaldo has been criticized in the media for apparently not caring about the team, but nothing could be further from the truth to those who have watched the games. The Portuguese superstar has worked his behind off for his team, doing whatever he can to win loose balls and get open in the box. We’ve even seen him go deep into his own half to defend late leads, which happened against Udinese after he had already given Juve the lead by scoring two goals on his own.
Juventus would have lost this game without Ronaldo. He won the first penalty by drawing a handball on his free kick, which was headed on target if Rodrigo De Paul did not throw his hand up in the way of the shot. And he sunk the penalty cooly. The winner came off his head, as he turned Adrien Rabiot’s cross into the near post while on the run.
Ronaldo was the clear Man of the Match and took another step towards the Capocannoniere with two massive goals. Juve will need him to carry them to the finish line.