TURIN: Cristiano Ronaldo stretched his goal-scoring streak to six consecutive league games as Juventus took the top spot in Serie A on Sunday with a 2-1 win at Roma, whose defeat was made worse by the cruciate ligament injury of rising star Nicolo Zaniolo.
Juventus move two points ahead of Inter Milan, who were held 1-1 by Atalanta at the San Siro on Saturday, after going two goals up in just 10 minutes in Rome.
“We were very good for 60 minutes. Then, if you play against Roma, it is almost inevitable to suffer in the end,” said Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri.
Turkish defender Merih Demiral found a way through after three minutes when he connected with a Paulo Dybala free-kick.
Minutes later Argentine Dybala was hauled down in the box, and Ronaldo stepped up to convert from the spot to make it nine goals in six league games.
“It’s tough playing against a team like Juventus and we gave away two early goals,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.
“We put in a good performance after that, against a great side. But once you go two goals down, it’s difficult.”
Both sides had casualties in the first half with Demiral limping off with a knee injury not long after scoring his first Juventus goal.
And Zaniolo was stretchered off in tears eight minutes before the break after falling victim to what Roma later confirmed was a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while trying to dribble past Matthijs De Ligt and Adrien Rabiot.
Zaniolo, who is considered one of Italy’s most exciting young talents and was a rare bright point for Roma in a torrid first half, will undergo surgery on Monday.
“I swear to you … I’ll be stronger than before,” the 20-year-old later wrote on Instagram.
Roma had their chances with Edin Dzeko hitting the post and Wojciech Szczesny denying Cengiz Under from point-blank range.
Diego Perotti pulled a goal back for the hosts from the penalty spot on 68 minutes after an Alex Sandro handball.
However, the capital side drops to fifth, outside the Champions League places, level on 35 points with fourth-placed Atalanta and seven behind local rivals Lazio after their 1-0 win over Napoli on Saturday.
Earlier, Alejandro Berenguer struck the only goal as Torino beat Bologna to climb to seventh.
Spaniard Berenguer finished off a cross from captain Andrea Belotti on 11 minutes as Torino move two points off sixth-placed Cagliari, who are in the last Europa League place.