Serie A Roundup: Cristiano Ronaldo nets perfect Juventus hat-trick in win over Cagliari; Inter Milan secures eight successive victory

Cristiano Ronaldo puts the Champions League woes during midweek behind him to notch a perfect hat-trick inside the first 32 minutes of the match against Cagliari to secure a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

The 36-year-old striker found the net with a header, a right-footed penalty, and a left-foot shot and celebrated by pointing to his ear in an apparent response to recent criticism.

Juventus enjoyed an easy ride despite Giovanni Simeone’s second-half strike for the hosts and are now third with 55 points, 10 behind leaders Inter Milan with a game in hand.

Cagliari’s coach Leonardo Semplici also endured his first defeat since taking over in February and left his side in 17th place on 22 points, two clear of the relegation zone.

Meanwhile, Lautaro Martinez scored the winner for Inter Milan late on to stretch the league leaders Serie A winning run to eight games and send his side nine points clear at the top with a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Torino.

Romelu Lukaku had earlier fired Inter in front from the penalty spot after 62 minutes but Antonio Sanabria restored parity, before Martinez steered a header into the bottom corner with five minutes remaining.

Inter now lead their city rivals AC Milan who currently occupies he second spot by nine points after their 1-0 home loss to fifth-placed Napoli on Sunday night, Mateo Politano netting the winner four minutes after half-time.

Torino remain in 18th place with 20 points, two adrift of Cagliari above them but with a game in hand over the Sardinian side.

AC Milan‘s Serie A hopes suffered a major blow as Matteo Politano’s second-half strike ensured Napoli grab a 1-0 victory on Sunday to leave the hosts nine points behind leaders Inter Milan in second place.

The Italian winger scored after 49 minutes but it was all but enough to seal a precious victory for the visitors who hopes to qualify for the Champions League, as they moved above AS Roma into fifth place on goal difference and two points behind Atalanta in fourth.

Milan were kept at an arms length for the entirety of the match as the Napoli defence proved very resolute with the hosts beginning to show frustration when substitute Ante Rebic was sent off for dissent in stoppage time.

Stefano Pioli’s side remain second on 56 points, but are now at risk of being dragged into the battle for a top four finish as Juventus are one point behind them in third and Napoli in fifth have 50 points and a game in hand.

“We missed a chance as it could have been an exceptional week for us,” Pioli said after the match.

“We played a good game against a great opponent. Now we must think about the next game against a strong team in Manchester United, and then about Fiorentina.

“Inter have done very well since they were knocked out of Europe, but we’re just thinking about earning as many points as possible.”

Gennaro Gattuso, Napoli’s manager, travelled to San Siro as an opposing manager for the first time after a hugely successful spell as a player and two years as coach there between 2017 and 2019.

Also, relegation battling Parma shocked many with victory over AS Roma on Sunday as the Champions League hopefuls fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, ending a 17-match winless run.

Valentin Mihaila scored an early goal to put the hosts ahead before Hernani’s second-half penalty sealed a deserved win for Roberto D’Aversa’s side, their first victory since November 30.

 

Parma remained in 19th place, but the victory took them to 19 points, three adrift of safety.

Roma came into the game on the back of three consecutive wins in all competitions, including a comprehensive 3-0 Europa League last-16 first-leg win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday, but the defeat left them in fifth place, two points behind Atalanta.

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