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Respite for Andrea Pirlo as trailblazing Cristiano Ronaldo leads Juventus to Super Cup victory

Cristiano Ronaldo scored as Juventus beat Napoli to win the Italian Super Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored as Juventus beat Napoli to win the Italian Super Cup.
ANALYST
Modified 22 Jan 2021
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Andrea Pirlo has won his first trophy as Juventus manager. The former midfielder steered the Bianconeri to the Italian Super Cup following a hard-fought win against Napoli.

Juventus beat Gennaro Gattuso’s side 2-0, with the goals coming from usual suspects Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata. The win couldn’t have come at a better time following Juventus’ recent struggles in the league.

After a keenly-contested first half, Ronaldo broke the deadlock in the 64th minute after prodding home from close range. Napoli had their chances but were constantly thwarted by the in-form Wojciech Szczesny.

Gattuso’s side’s biggest chance came in the 80th minute when they were awarded a penalty, however, Lorenzo Insigne failed to convert from the spot. Morata sealed the win for Juventus when he rounded off a swift counter-attacking move by rolling the ball into an empty net.

Juventus' cup win will ease the pressure on Pirlo

Pirlo had been under pressure ahead of the Super Cup final following Juventus’ struggles in the Serie A. For the first time in a decade, the Bianconeri risk missing out on the title after falling behind in the race for the league title.

Juventus currently occupy fifth place in the Serie A and are 10 points behind leaders AC Milan. The club needed to quickly bounce back after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Inter Milan last week.

Wednesday’s victory in the Super Cup, therefore, brings a huge respite for Pirlo, who has now won his first trophy as a manager. Anything less than victory could have cost him his job.

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“It is a great joy, lifting the first trophy as a coach is even more beautiful,” Pirlo said after the game, as quoted by Juventus.com. “It was important to win after the defeat against Inter. We had to show pride and when you go on the pitch with this determination, things can go well."

Record-breaking Ronaldo proves his worth again

While Pirlo is basking in the glory of the cup win, he has Ronaldo to thank for much of it. The Portuguese has been in unreal form since joining Juventus two and half years ago.

Ronaldo’s goal in the Super Cup final also came at a crucial time as Napoli were piling the pressure on the Bianconeri. In scoring, he chalked up yet another great personal achievement.

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The 35-year-old is now officially the highest scorer in football history, overtaking Josef Bican with his 760th strike. Ronaldo has nothing left to prove in football but he continues to deliver classy performances for a player in the twilight of his career. His latest achievement is a reward for his hard work and dedication over the years.

The former Manchester United star will now hope to help Juventus close the gap on their rivals in the race for the league title. It won’t be easy to reduce a 10-point gap with the table toppers, but having Ronaldo in the side means it is not entirely impossible.

Published 22 Jan 2021, 19:05 IST
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