Cristiano Ronaldo helps Juventus beat Napoli to win Italian Super Cup

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored to help Juventus win a record-extending ninth Italian Super Cup by beating Napoli 2-0 on Wednesday. Napoli missed the chance to take the match to extra time when captain Lorenzo Insigne missed a late penalty and Álvaro Morata sealed the result with the last kick of the game. “It’s a very happy moment and lifting my first trophy as a coach makes it even better,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said. It was Juve’s ninth Super Cup title, taking it two above AC Milan, which is the team with the second-most victories in the competition.

The match showcasing the Serie A and Italian Cup champions is normally regarded as little more than a friend. It used to be the traditional season curtain-raiser in August but has been played in December or January several times over the past few seasons. Juventus came into the match with Pirlo under increasing pressure, especially after a 2-0 loss to title rival Inter Milan on Sunday.

“It was a tough game and the pitch was difficult, but the team stayed focused and we’ve won an important trophy which will give us a confidence boost,” Ronaldo said. “Now we must use that to win our upcoming fixtures. As for the league, it’ll be a difficult race, but we’ll be in it.” It was a cagey match, with few genuine scoring opportunities, but Juventus eventually broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.

A Juventus corner took a couple of ricochets before landing in the path of Ronaldo, who didn’t miss from close range. Napoli had the chance to level 10 minutes from time but Insigne fired his penalty wide of the left post after Dries Mertens had been tripped by Weston McKennie. Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny did well to parry an effort from Piotr Zieliński seconds before Morata finished off a counterattack to secure Pirlo’s first trophy in charge.

ATALANTA HELD

Atalanta missed the chance to go third in Serie A after being held to a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Udinese in a rearranged match. Udinese stunned Atalanta by scoring in the opening minute but Luis Muriel canceled out Roberto Pereyra’s goal on the stroke of halftime. Atalanta remained sixth, a point below the top four and 10 adrift of league leader AC Milan. Udinese is now four points above the relegation zone. The match in Udine was originally set for Dec. 6 but the ground was waterlogged.

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