Sassuolo 1-3 Juventus: Ronaldo nets 100th goal but visitors remain in fifth despite victory

Sassuolo 1-3 Juventus: Cristiano Ronaldo sets another goalscoring record by netting 100th goal for Juve after Gianluigi Buffon becomes oldest goalkeeper to save Serie A penalty but visitors remain in fifth despite victory

  • Ronaldo’s 100th goal for Juventus kept alive his side’s hopes of a top-four finish 
  • The forward became first player to score 100 goals in three different countries
  • Buffon, 43, also set a new record by saving Domenico Berardi’s spot kick
  • Juve remain two points off Champions League places with two games to go

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100th goal for Juventus in all competitions kept alive his side’s hopes of a top-four Serie A finish after a 3-1 away win against an impressive Sassuolo on Wednesday.

The result was not easy to come by for Juve, with returning goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saving an early penalty, but goals from Adrien Rabiot, Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala meant they stayed fifth, two points off the Champions League qualification places. 

Buffon, who announced this week that he is leaving the club at the end of the season, replaced Wojciech Szczesny in goal and immediately showed he has lost none of his ability as he brilliantly kept out Domenico Berardi’s spot-kick.

Cristiano Ronaldo (above) scored his 100th goal for Juventus on Wednesday night

The Juventus forward became the first player to score 100 goals in three different countries

The Juventus forward became the first player to score 100 goals in three different countries

The chances kept coming and going for the home side, and their profligacy proved costly as Adrien Rabiot drilled home the opener in the 28th minute, before Ronaldo reached another goal landmark just before the break.

Sassuolo continued to do everything but score, until Giacomo Raspadori did finally beat Buffon just before the hour mark.

But Dybala also reached a century of Juve goals, with a fine finish six minutes later to ensure they kept pace with their top-four rivals Atalanta, AC Milan and Napoli, who all won in the latest round of matches, with two games to play. 

Legend Gianluigi Buffon, 43, became the oldest goalkeeper to save a Serie A penalty

Legend Gianluigi Buffon, 43, became the oldest goalkeeper to save a Serie A penalty

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot drilled home the opener for the visitors in the 28th minute

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot drilled home the opener for the visitors in the 28th minute

Paulo Dybala also reached a century of Juventus goals by netting the third late on

Paulo Dybala also reached a century of Juventus goals by netting the third late on

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Ashley Young criticises Manchester United’s decision to sell ‘unbelievable Romelu Lukaku’

Ashley Young criticises Manchester United’s decision to sell ‘unbelievable Romelu Lukaku’ before claiming he was ‘fantastic in the Premier League’

  • Ashley Young says he can’t ‘understand’ why United sold Romelu Lukaku in 2019
  • Young has said that ‘unbelievable’ Lukaku was ‘fantastic in the Premier League’
  • However, he admits the decision to move to Serie A was the right choice for him 

Former Manchester United captain Ashley Young says he can’t ‘understand’ why the club decided to sell ‘unbelievable’ Romelu Lukaku in 2019. 

Inter Milan signed the Belgium striker on a five-year deal worth £74million – making him third most expensive Serie A signing after the Juventus duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain. 

Young believes United made a mistake letting Lukaku go as he was ‘fantastic in the Premier League’ but admits ‘it was the right choice for him’.   

Ashley Young says he can’t ‘understand’ why United sold Romelu Lukaku (above) in 2019

Lukaku joined Man United in 2017 and spent two years at the club after arriving from Everton

Lukaku joined Man United in 2017 and spent two years at the club after arriving from Everton

Lukaku joined Manchester United in 2017 and spent two years at the club after arriving from Everton. 

However, Lukaku was regularly criticised despite his impressive goal scoring tally in the Premier League, telling Sky Sports: ‘I said it at the time, I couldn’t understand the decision [to sell Lukaku]

Young (aove) has said that 'unbelievable' Lukaku was 'fantastic in the Premier League'

Young (aove) has said that ‘unbelievable’ Lukaku was ‘fantastic in the Premier League’

The pair played together at Manchester United before both moving to Inter Milan

The pair played together at Manchester United before both moving to Inter Milan

‘Whether it was made quickly or not, Romelu has proved a lot of people wrong. He’s worked unbelievably hard.

‘There was talk that he was overweight and couldn’t do this or that. He’s smashed record and made history in Italy, he’s been unbelievable for the club.

‘For me he was fantastic even in the Premier League, to go out there and face another challenge, I think it was the right choice for him. He deserves all the plaudits he is getting.’ 

Lukaku has excelled in Serie A since his arrival and helped Inter Milan claim the title this. 

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FLASHBACK: The night Manchester United hit SEVEN past Roma in Champions League

The incredible thing about one of Manchester United’s greatest European nights was that they only needed to win 1-0. 

‘Great games are usually won by eight players,’ Sir Alex Ferguson wrote in his autobiography about their 7-1 mauling of Roma. ‘It can happen to you half a dozen times in your career that there are 11 players giving their all in a match. That game was one of those exceptions.’

This truly was a match where his entire starting XI had standout performances.

Manchester United produced one of their greatest European nights to thump Roma 7-1 in 2007

Michael Carrick gave United the goal they needed to win the tie but they were far from done

Michael Carrick gave United the goal they needed to win the tie but they were far from done 

Alan Smith ended a goal drought to quickly added a second as Roma began to fall apart

Alan Smith ended a goal drought to quickly added a second as Roma began to fall apart 

Youngster Wayne Rooney was presented with a tap in to make it three inside 20 minutes

Youngster Wayne Rooney was presented with a tap in to make it three inside 20 minutes

In a game that Roma’s club captain Francesco Totti described as more important to him than the World Cup final, there was plenty at stake here. 

The Italian headed up a line-up of experienced stars like Philippe Mexes, Daniele De Rossi and David Pizarro, but the Red Devils were not fazed one bit – even though they were losing 2-1 on aggregate.

Just 12 minutes into their Champions League quarter-final clash in 2007, Michael Carrick’s swift finish gave them the goal they needed to advance to the semis – having secured a vital away goal in Rome – but Sir Alex’s men smelt blood at Old Trafford. 

Five minutes later, Ryan Giggs slipped in a pass towards the edge of the box that Gabriel Heinze slipped trying to intercept – giving Alan Smith the freedom to rifle into the corner beyond Doni.

Sir Alex Ferguson was in awe of the quality of their display with the entire team impressing

Sir Alex Ferguson was in awe of the quality of their display with the entire team impressing

And the Theatre of Dreams was starting to dream of the last four when a young Wayne Rooney was handed a tap-in following a surging run down the right wing from Giggs 

‘Magical Manchester United, scintillating football – Roma torn apart’, cried Clive Tyldesley on commentary. The Italians were at sixes and sevens, but United weren’t done there in their frantic first-half onslaught.

It was a momentous night for many reasons – one of them was the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo on the European stage as he netted his first ever Champions League goal. As we know now, it would be the first of many.

It was a night where Cristiano Ronaldo announced himself with his first European strike

It was a night where Cristiano Ronaldo announced himself with his first European strike 

The Portuguese star would go on to bag a brace as United began to turn the game into a romp

The Portuguese star would go on to bag a brace as United began to turn the game into a romp

In trademark Ronaldo style, he took the ball from the right flank with it seemingly glued to his foot, feinted to shoot with his left before shifting onto his right and slamming a shot into the corner. Now 5-2 on aggregate, home and hosed with 45 minutes left to play.

Only minutes after the break – with Roma hoping for a bit of breathing space – United granted no such mercy. Giggs, who was sensational throughout, was the architect again as he pounced on a loose ball near the touchline and pinged a first time cross that rolled all the way through to Ronaldo at the back post. He made no mistake.

Carrick, who started the party with the opener, saved the best goal for the finale – rifling into the top corner after collecting a pass from the edge of the area, before Roma finally got on the scoresheet with a worthy effort of their own. 

Daniele De Rossi added a stunning consolation before Carrick scored a second from distance

Daniele De Rossi added a stunning consolation before Carrick scored a second from distance

It almost seems like a tragedy that it was only a consolation – as De Rossi’s powerful, twisting, no-look volley will go down as one of his greatest career goals. And the memory of that strike was firmly put to bed when United added their seventh of a miserable night for Roma.

Patrice Evra – playing out of position at right back – still managed to produce a superb performance and followed Ronaldo in netting his first European goal. United seemed content to play keep ball in the final 10 minutes before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer laid it off to the Frenchman, who smashed a shot in off the post.

A magnificent seven. 8-3 on aggregate. United would go through to face Milan in the semi-finals, where they would be outdone by the magic of Kaka, but this was a night for United to savour.

Even Patrice Evra - playing out of position - got in on the act as he wrapped up their seventh

Even Patrice Evra – playing out of position – got in on the act as he wrapped up their seventh

Current boss Solskjaer will have fond memories of the game – having come on for the final half an hour and bagged an assist – as he prepares to face the Italian outfit again in the Europa League semi-finals tonight.

Reflecting back on their romp at Old Trafford 14 years ago, the Norwegian remembered this week about how confident Sir Alex was that his side would get the job done – despite suffering a 2-1 loss to Roma in the first leg.

‘We lost the away game but the odd thing was the manager was so happy after that defeat, I’ve never seen him as happy after losing because he was so confident of winning the home game. Surreal experience, really.’

And the legendary boss was left delirious after the full time whistle, hailing the display as the club’s ‘best night’ in Europe – despite their miraculous win in the final over Bayern in 1999, as well as another triumph to come over Chelsea in the next year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - who came on as a sub in the game - is preparing to welcome Roma to Old Trafford in the Europa League, 14 years after the mauling

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who came on as a sub in the game – is preparing to welcome Roma to Old Trafford in the Europa League, 14 years after the mauling

‘It was a fantastic performance by every one of our players,’ he said. ‘The speed of our play and our penetration was absolutely superb.

‘That’s absolutely the best night of European football we’ve had here. We never expected to win 7-1 but the quality of our game was so high.’ 

As for Roma, it was a humiliation like no other. Italy’s press rained down fire on the club the following morning – with La Stampa’s headline reading: ‘Roma Hell’, and describing their performance as ‘apocalyptic’.

Fergie hailed the display as United's best in Europe after overturning a 2-1 deficit in Rome

Fergie hailed the display as United’s best in Europe after overturning a 2-1 deficit in Rome

The thrashing sent shockwaves around Italy with the press calling Roma’s display ‘apocalyptic’

When asked what he would change about the game, Roma boss Luciano Spaletti said he wished he had stayed at home instead

When asked what he would change about the game, Roma boss Luciano Spaletti said he wished he had stayed at home instead

La Gazzetta Dello Sport labelled Totti as ‘Captain Disaster’ and singled him out for going missing on the big stage. Words from his manager Luciano Spalletti were particularly damning and desperate.

‘Every shot finished in the back of the net,’ he said. ‘What would I change if I could do it again? Stay at home.’ 

So Roma will not arrive at Old Trafford on Thursday with the fondest memories, but plenty to put right. 

Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus star ‘to choose between Man United or PSG’ if he misses Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘to choose between Manchester United or PSG’ if Juventus fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League… with 36-year-old determined to add sixth European crown to his collection

  • Juventus are running the risk of missing out on next season’s Champions League
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, at 36, is not interested in being in the Europa League instead
  • Reports in Italy say he would look to Man United or PSG if they don’t make it 

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly has no plans to stick around at Juventus if they fail to reach next season’s Champions League – with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United in his thoughts. 

Tuttosport report that the French champions, along with a reunion at Old Trafford, are two options for the 36-year-old if he elects to cut short his time in Italy this summer.

A score draw at Fiorentina over the weekend has left Juventus’ hopes of a top four finish – and crucially, a spot in next season’s Champions League – in doubt.   

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly considering exit routes if Juventus miss the Champions League

Ronaldo is contracted to Juventus until 2022 but it is widely considered that missing out on Europe’s premier club competition would be make keeping him financially unsustainable.  

His contract is worth around £27million (€31m) and Europa League football would not provide the necessary funds.

Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times – four with Real Madrid and once with Manchester United – and he knows he is running out of opportunities to win a sixth European crown, raising doubts over his stay in Juventus.

A score draw away to Fiorentina at the weekend has left Juventus' top four hopes in jeopardy

A score draw away to Fiorentina at the weekend has left Juventus’ top four hopes in jeopardy

During his time in Italy he has been eliminated by Ajax, Lyon and Porto in what has proved bitterly disappointing. 

Juventus currently sit fourth, level on points with third-placed Napoli as well as fifth-placed AC Milan in a fiercely close top four race.

Ronaldo and Co still have to play Udinese, AC Milan, Sassuolo, Inter Milan and Bologna to round out the Serie A season.

More to follow. 

Ronaldo (left) is targeting a sixth Champions League but is running out of opportunities

Ronaldo (left) is targeting a sixth Champions League but is running out of opportunities

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