Juventus 3 -1 Udinese: Ronaldo stars alongside Dybala and Higuain in comfortable win

After picking up just a point from their previous two league outings, Juventus produced a first-half flurry to down Udinese at home.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus returned to winning ways in Serie A, easing to a 3-1 triumph over struggling Udinese on Sunday.

Maurizio Sarri finally fielded Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain together from the start – and the trio were influential in helping the reigning champions record a first victory in three league outings.

The points were secured by half-time at Allianz Stadium, Ronaldo getting a brace as Udinese struggled to cope with a pumped-up home team eager to bounce back from a 3-1 loss away to Lazio the previous weekend.

The Portugal international opened the scoring in the ninth minute, firing home a loose ball with an instinctive first-time effort, while it was Higuain's well-weighted throughball that set up the second, finished with his left foot.

Leonardo Bonucci added a third before the interval, flicking in a header at a corner from centre-back partner Merih Demiral via a deflection off the underside of the crossbar, allowing Juve to ease up in the second half.

As the tempo dropped, the hosts relied on Gianluigi Buffon - making his 478th Serie A appearance in place of the injured Wojciech Szczesny, drawing him level with Alessandro Del Piero's club record in the competition – to keep Udinese at bay.

The veteran goalkeeper - guilty of a costly error in the 2-2 draw against Sassuolo earlier in December - twice made saves from the lively Kevin Lasagna, while he also turned away Seko Fofana's fierce drive.

However, there was little Buffon could do to stop Ignacio Pussetto getting a consolation goal in stoppage time, the substitute's reactionary volley preventing the former Italy international from recording a clean sheet.

Ronaldo had been denied a hat-trick by the post prior to that, but Juve coasted to a result that sends them above Inter, who can quickly reclaim top spot when they travel to Fiorentina in Sunday's late kick-off.

Ronaldo still going strong

The forward - who turns 35 in February - may not quite have the blistering pace that was once such a trademark, yet he remains a ruthless finisher. His goals demonstrated just how dangerous he is when presented with a sight of the target.



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