Before Sunday, Juventus had won just one of their last four games in all competitions. The team’s poor run coincided with the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who missed several games after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Bianconeri’s hopes of defending their Serie A title was slowly slipping away after draws with Crotone and Hellas Verona allowed rivals AC Milan to open a healthy gap at the summit of the league table.
Juventus also lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, in a game where they missed Ronaldo’s ruthlessness in front of goal.
Ronaldo comes off the bench to save Juventus
However, the Portuguese superstar returned to action and inspired Andrea Pirlo’s side to an emphatic 4-1 win against Spezia on Sunday. The 35-year-old was named among the substitutes and came on to change the game.
When Ronaldo replaced Paulo Dybala in the 56th minute, the game was deadlocked at 1-1. Three minutes later, he made an instant impact by firing Juventus into the lead. Adrian Rabiot scored soon after to cushion the team's lead.
Ronaldo rounded up the result with a cheeky penalty, chipping the ball straight into the goal as the goalkeeper dived the wrong way.
“Happy to be back and help the team with two goals! Well done team,” Ronaldo took to Twitter to bask in his goal-scoring return. It was the kind of impact every manager dreams of and Pirlo didn’t mince words when he said the Portuguese came on to do 'his job'.
"We created chances in the first half too, it was a shame that we were level at half-time after creating so many occasions," Pirlo said after the game, as quoted by AS.
"We have to be more clinical in front of the goal because when you have the opportunities, games must be finished off. Then Cristiano came on and he did his job," added Pirlo.
The win over Spezia sends Juventus to third position in the Serie A table, four points behind league leaders AC Milan. With Ronaldo back in the team, the Bianconeri should be able to get their season back on track.