Cristiano Ronaldo was up to his usual tricks on Sunday evening during Juventus’ 2-1 over Udinese.
On a day in which Inter Milan became the first team since 2011 to grapple the Serie A title away from the Old Lady, Andrea Pirlo’s side travelled to the Dacia Arena with their ambitions of qualifying for the Champions League hanging in the balance.
With Atalanta, AC Milan, Napoli, Lazio and Juve all vying for three remaining places, every game is a must-win during the final weeks of the season.
Juve found themselves 1-0 down after just ten minutes as Nahuel Molina notched his second of the season from a tight angle.
The visitors pushed and probed and, as a frustrating afternoon drew to a close, Ronaldo eventually proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Firstly, the Portugal international’s speculative free-kick was blocked by Rodrigo De Paul’s arm and the referee rightly pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Ronaldo, who dispatched emphatically to draw the sides level.
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But Juve weren’t finished there and went searching for a priceless winner, which was notched by that man Ronaldo again in the dying embers.
Following a determined run by Adrien Rabiot, the Frenchman swung in a lofted cross to the back post where Ronaldo was waiting.
In typical fashion, the 36-year-old met the header with purpose and nodded the ball through the ‘keeper’s legs to snatch a late winner.
The jubilant celebrations of the Juve players underlined just how important the goal was as Pirlo joined his players and coaching staff in a mass huddle pitch side.
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Ronaldo’s brace took his tally for the season to 34 in just 40 games and underlined his status as arguably the greatest clutch player in world football.
The truly elite players are those that step up and deliver when the team needs it most, and Ronaldo, despite his age, has a tendency to dig his team out of some sizable holes.
In the aftermath of proceedings, veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci conceded that the Turin-bases giants were fortunate to emerge with all three points, per Sky Italia (via Sky Sports).
“If we are satisfied with these 10 minutes, it means that we have not understood anything.
“We can’t change gear and keep it up for the whole game, that is the hardest thing to understand.
“Matches are decided by episodes. After this many games you need to pay attention to the details. We have dropped points too many times because of the details.”