Juventus spurned the chance to move nine points clear at the top of Serie A on Wednesday night.
The Old Lady played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with mid-table Sassuolo at the MAPEI Stadium.
Danilo and Gonzalo Higuain put Juve 2-0 up after just 12 minutes, but Sassuolo were 3-2 up early in the second half after completing a remarkable turnaround.
Goals from Filip Djuricic, Domenico Berardi and Francesco Caputo gave the hosts a surprise lead.
The drama wasn’t over there, either. Alex Sandro then popped up with the equaliser in the 64th minute.
If he’d got himself on the scoresheet, Ronaldo would have become the first player in history to score 50 goals in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
The Portuguese superstar had netted in each of his previous six Serie A outings and a record-breaking, winning goal would usually feel inevitable.
But Ronaldo wasn’t really at the races on this occasion. In fact, he had a bit of a night to forget.
You can watch the 35-year-old’s ‘highlights’ from the match here…
Not a vintage performance from the world-class forward.
This unsuccessful attempt at a skill in the 68th minute just about summed his evening up…
On various websites, Ronaldo failed to score higher than a 6.
WhoScored handed him a 6.6 rating (one of his lowest marks of the season) which, if anything, felt a little generous.
But it’s safe to assume that Ronaldo won’t let this below-par performance bother him.
He’ll be determined to make amends when Juve take on third-placed Lazio next Monday evening.
Juve boss Maurizio Sarri, meanwhile, admitted he was ‘perplexed’ after such a frustrating performance from his side.
“A coach expects consistency from his team, it’s something we’ve been lacking both physically and mentally. We have some very strong moments in a match and some moments of passivity that are difficult to understand,” Sarri, whose team have now gone three games without a win, was quoted a saying by Football Italia.
“We’ve been up against teams in remarkable form recently and Sassuolo are no different, as they’d won four in a row and if they consolidate, they can become the Atalanta of the future.
“I do believe that if we resolve the issue of consistency throughout the game, we are on the right track. Any team becomes dangerous if you let them pass it around in our final third.
“We struggled because they played between the lines with the trequartista and we gave the ball away too many times. It was strange, as our full-backs in the first half were conservative, but then started to push forward and win the ball back early towards the end of the game.
“It’s not so much something that doesn’t work as it works in fits and starts. At times, I get the feeling this team has enormous potential. At other times, it leaves you perplexed, as it allows the opponents to enter the box far too easily. We need to find the right balance and that is not easy.
“We had to keep the ball more, as there are times when the passing move will help you to control the tempo and stay in the opposition half. We sometimes feel too rushed in trying to get to the goal in a couple of passes, which creates a situation where you go from end to end.”
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