Juventus produced an impressive second-half display against Genoa to bag all three points in a key 2020-21 Serie A game. Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot to lead the champions to a 3-1 win after Genoa had restored parity.
The first half saw near-total domination from the visitors, who had 72% possession and recorded eight shots, with three of them being on target. The hosts did not commit too many men in the final third and played most of the first half with all 11 players in their own half.
Even after the game resumed after the break, Genoa lacked the final touch in front of goal. So, it wasn't a surprise when Juventus opened the scoring in the 57th minute.
Paulo Dybala scored his first goal of the campaign with a low drilled effort to beat the on-loan Juventus keeper Mattia Perin at the near post. The goal provided a much-needed spark to the game, and both teams started moving the ball more effectively.
The hosts, who had recorded no shots on target till the 60th minute, were back in the game shortly. Stefano Sturaro volleyed in at the back post to equalise for Genoa pff an exquisite lofted pass from Luca Pellegrini.
However, avoidable mistakes in the box gave away two penalties to the visitors the last 12 minutes of the game, and Ronaldo made no mistake in dispatching both comfortably.
On that note, let us a look at five major talking points from the game as Juventus closed the gap on league leaders AC Milan to three points.
#1 Paulo Dybala scores his first league goal of the season
Paulo Dybala finally opened his account in the 2020-21 Italian top-flight with a fine finish. The Argentine has been struggling in front of goal this term and has just one goal to his name in all competitions.
The forward's only other goal involvement this campaign had come in Juventus' 4-1 away win at Ferencvaros in the Champions League last month.
Dybala has started just five games in the league this season, as the in-form Alvaro Morata has been favoured to partner with Cristiano Ronaldo up front. The Argentine had a passing accuracy of 90% against Genoa. Now that he's on the scoresheet, Pirlo could look to hand Dybala more game-time.
#4 Juventus defence caught off guard by a rare Genoa counter
Juventus made the cardinal error of letting their guard down after opening the scoring, and Genoa capitalised on the same to get back on level terms at the hour mark.
The Bianconeri were ahead for only three minutes when the hosts struck back. In all honesty though, Pellegrini deserves due credit for his perfectly-weighted delivery into the Juventus box.
However, the way Sturaro was allowed to score from a narrow angle on the volley did not reflect well on the visitors' defence.
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo marks his 100th appearance for Juventus with a brace
Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fine form in front of goal, as he converted his fourth penalty for Juventus in two games.
In his 100th appearance for the Bianconeri, Ronaldo made the occasion memorable by making the net bulge from the penalty spot twice.
He has now scored 31 goals in the Serie A in the calendar year as his tenth of the season helped him join Zlatan Ibrahimovich atop the scoring charts.
Though he was not much involved from open play in the final third, Ronaldo will undoubtedly be happy to have scored the winning goals for his team.
#2 Juventus fail to keep a clean sheet yet again
Juventus would be happy to take home the three points from the game and maintain their unbeaten start to their league campaign. But despite a positive result at Genoa, the lack of clean sheets continue to be an issue for the stuttering champions.
Against Genoa, the team conceded just three minutes after going ahead. What was even more worrying was that after keeping the Genoa attackers at bay for over an hour, Juventus conceded from the hosts' first shot on target.
Clean sheets have been a rarity for Juventus this season. The Bianconeri have only managed a shutout twice in the 2020-21 Serie A, which is one fewer than what they have managed in six games in the Champions League.
#1 Juventus clinch back-to-back league wins for the first time this term
Juventus recorded back-to-back wins in the Serie A for the first time this season. The Bianconeri have drawn five of their league games, though, with four of them being 1-1 draws
The reigning champions seem to have gotten back to winning ways, as it was their fourth win on the spin across all competitions. This run of games include Juventus' derby win against Torino last weekend and a massive 3-0 victory at Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek.
The win sees Andrea Pirlo's men climb to the top four and cut the gap between themselves and league leaders AC Milan to three points; the Rossoneri play Parma later in the day.