MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo rediscovered his scoring touch by converting a penalty to help Juventus beat city rival Torino 1-0 in a Serie A derby on Saturday.
Ronaldo has been playing and scoring regularly this season and showing little sign of being affected — on the field at least — by a rape allegation in the United States.
However, Ronaldo failed to score in his previous two matches, the first time that had happened since September.
But he netted 20 minutes from time as Juventus moved 11 points clear of second-placed Napoli, which visits Cagliari on Sunday.
“I’m very happy but the main thing is doing my bit for the team,” Ronaldo said. “I hit it really hard and the keeper got a hand to it but it went in and that’s all that matters.
“It was a tough game because the pitch wasn’t in great condition but in the end we managed to get the three points we deserved.”
Kathryn Mayorga filed a civil lawsuit in September in Nevada claiming Ronaldo raped her in his Las Vegas hotel room in 2009. Police reopened an investigation into the allegation at her request. Ronaldo has denied any wrongdoing.
Torino was hit early when goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu fell awkwardly and needed treatment for several minutes on his hip. Sirigu continued and performed a stunning save to keep out a Ronaldo volley. However, he fell on the same hip and despite trying again to continue had to make way for Salvador Ichazo.
The Uruguayan goalkeeper kept out efforts from Giorgio Chiellini and Blaise Matuidi but gave away the penalty by bringing down Mario Mandzukic after a terrible backpass from former Juventus forward Simone Zaza.
Ichazo almost managed to keep out Ronaldo’s spot kick as he got a touch to it.
Juventus thought it doubled its lead but Mandzukic’s effort after Ronaldo nodded on a free kick was ruled out for offside.
BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Inter Milan ended a seven-match winless run across all competitions by edging Udinese 1-0 at home.
Mauro Icardi scored a cheeky, chipped penalty 14 minutes from time.
Inter remained third, 14 points behind Juventus.
The Nerazzurri were desperate for victory, especially after being eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday by a draw at home to PSV Eindhoven.
“We had to send a message after Tuesday’s game,” Icardi said. “We were disappointed but we know that we’re up there in the league and we can give it a good go. You can forget about disappointment by winning, doing well in the matches that we now have up until the break.”
Inter again started off wasting opportunities, though Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso did well.
Inter finally scored after being awarded a penalty on video review when Seko Fofana handled in the area. Icardi converted by chipping the spot kick down the middle, over a diving Musso.
“For the penalty, I decided to mix it up a bit,” Icardi said. “I knew that the goalkeeper had studied me so I decided to take it like that, but all that matters is that it went in. We struggled a bit towards the end, but you always work better after a win.”
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