Unstoppable Juventus maintained their perfect start to the season after 10 matches when first-half goals from Rodrigo Bentancur and Cristiano Ronaldo gave them a 2-0 win at Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.
Juventus, chasing an eighth successive league title, have 24 points from their eight matches in Serie A and have won their first two games in the Champions League.
Uruguay midfielder Bentancur’s goal was his first since joining Juventus at the start of last season while Ronaldo took his tally to four since his move from Real Madrid.
Juve dominated the opening half hour and broke through in the 33rd minute with a counter-attack as Bentancur set Joao Cancelo away on the right and headed in the Portugal full back’s pinpoint cross.
Four minutes later, Mario Mandzukic won a loose ball in the penalty area and teed the ball up for Ronaldo to fire a venomous drive past Simone Scuffet.
Antonin Barak hit the post for Udinese and Kevin Lasagna had a shot cleared off the line either side of halftime but, otherwise, Juventus continued to dominate.
Federico Bernardeschi and Ronaldo were denied further goals by Scuffet who also tipped a Cancelo shot on to the crossbar.
Cagliari (nine points) picked up their first home win of the season when headed goals from Joao Pedro and Leonardo Pavoletti, both from Lucas Castro crosses, gave them a 2-0 win over Bologna (7) in the afternoon match.
Applause and boos
Ronaldo’s powerful, angled goal, the second of the match and his fourth of the season, was met by applause and boos in the Italian league game at the home of Udinese. Ronaldo and Juventus finished 2-0 winners.
Just over a week ago, Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in Nevada saying she was raped by Ronaldo in Las Vegas in 2009. Police have re-opened an investigation. Ronaldo has denied the accusation.
Ronaldo played last for Juventus last weekend in Serie A, but midweek he missed a Champions League game because of an automatic suspension from a red card and was left out of Portugal’s squad for upcoming international matches.
Available again for Juventus on Saturday, Ronaldo’s mother, Maria Dolores Aveiro, sent her son a message on Instagram: “Good luck son and for your team because together we are stronger.”
Some Juventus fans at the match expressed support for Ronaldo.
“Rape is just an excuse. It’s because he came to Juventus. If he had stayed at Real Madrid nobody would have said a thing,” said Juventus supporter Stefano Pianeta outside the stadium, referring to Ronaldo’s recent transfer from Madrid.
Added Fabrizio Paduna, another Juventus fan, when asked about the rape case, “It’s just rumors for me. I really don’t think it’s true.”
On Thursday, Juventus sent a statement of support and called him a “great champion.” But his sponsors Nike and video game maker EA Sports have expressed concern about the allegation.
Since the allegation surfaced, Juventus’ share price has fallen by nearly 20 percent.
Neither Ronaldo nor Juventus have addressed the allegation by Mayorga that she received a payoff of $375,000 in 2010 after being put under pressure by the player’s “fixers” to keep quiet about an incident in a penthouse hotel suite.
Other than the game against Young Boys, Ronaldo has played every minute of Juventus’ other nine matches in all competitions this season.