Dybala sinks Milan after angry Ronaldo substituted

Reuters, TURIN, Italy

Tue, Nov 12, 2019 - Page 16

Juventus on Sunday stayed top of Serie A with a 1-0 win over AC Milan thanks to Paulo Dybala’s fine strike after Cristiano Ronaldo was substituted for the second game in a row and walked straight down the tunnel, clearly unhappy at the decision.

Ronaldo’s replacement Dybala scored in the 77th minute with a goal the Portuguese would have been proud of.

After a quick exchange of passes, the Argentine twisted past Alessio Romagnoli and beat Gianluigi Donnarumma with a right-foot shot.

Ronaldo was taken off in the 55th minute, his earliest substitution since he joined Juve at the start of last season and the first time he has been replaced twice in succession.

Despite producing a lackluster display, Ronaldo gave coach Maurizio Sarri a dirty look, muttered something under his breath and walked straight down the tunnel.

Ronaldo also looked unhappy after being taken off during Wednesday last week’s UEFA Champions League match at Lokomotiv Moscow, although Sarri said it was to avoid risking injury, as the 34-year-old had complained of knee and thigh problems.

Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Ronaldo left the stadium before the final whistle, but Sarri denied there was a rift with the five-time World Player of the Year.

“There is no problem with Cristiano, and I thank him because he has played while not in perfect condition,” Sarri told reporters. “The important thing is that he makes himself available. He gets angry when he is taken off, but that is part of the game. It [his condition] is affecting his performances and he is not at his best at the moment. All players who are trying to give their best will have to be annoyed for at least five minutes when they are substituted.”

Juventus, chasing a ninth straight Serie A title and unbeaten in all competitions under Sarri, moved to 32 points, a point ahead of Inter, who went top after a 2-1 home win over Hellas Verona on Saturday.

Milan’s problems continued as they were left down in 14th place on 13 points after their ninth successive away defeat to Juventus in Serie A, but they gave an improved performance and had the better chances in the first half.

Elsewhere, Parma defeated AS Roma 2-0, who were overtaken by city rivals SS Lazio, 4-2 winners over US Lecce. Cagliari also moved above Roma into fourth place by defeating ACF Fiorentina 5-2, while UC Sampdoria played out a 0-0 draw with Atalanta BC, and the match between Udinese and SPAL also finished goalless.