Late Juventus goal means Ronaldo starts Serie A life with a win

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Serie A debut for Juventus ended in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Chievo, thanks to a stoppage-time goal from substitute Federico Bernardeschi.

All eyes were on the Portugal forward following his 100 million euro (£99m) summer transfer from Real Madrid – but it needed a team effort from the defending champions to secure three points in Verona.

Sami Khedira put the visitors in front after just three minutes, before Mariusz Stepinski equalised with a towering header.

Chievo went 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half through a penalty from former Juve winger Emanuele Giaccherini, before an own goal from defender Mattia Bani levelled things up again.

Substitute Mario Mandzukic thought he had won it with a late header, given by goalline technology, only for the effort to be ruled out following a referral by the Video Assistant Referee.

The decision, following a lengthy review on the pitchside monitor by Fabrizio Pasqua, appeared to be for a handball from Ronaldo in the build-up, which saw Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino take a heavy blow and eventually need to be replaced.

Cristiano Ronaldo (right)
Cristiano Ronaldo (right) took time to settle into his new role on a Serie A debut. (Filippo Venezia/AP)

The champions could not have started better when Khedira hooked the ball in after new captain Giorgio Chiellini had knocked back a free-kick.

Joao Cancelo, also making his debut following a move from Valencia, stabbed wide, before Ronaldo dragged a 19th-minute shot wide from the edge of the penalty area and Douglas Costa fired just over.

Despite all of the champions’ pressing, Chievo equalised on 38 minutes with a first effort on target, when Stepinski headed in.

At the start of the second half, Ronaldo fired in a 25-yard effort which was beaten away by Sorrentino.

Chievo, though, took the lead from the penalty spot through Giaccherini, after he had been tripped by Cancelo.

Juventus celebrate winning at Chievo.
Juventus produced a real team effort to open the new Serie A campaign with a victory at Chievo. (Antonio Calanni/AP)

Juve eventually equalised with 15 minutes left when a corner from Bernardeschi was deflected into his own net by Chievo defender Bani.

Ronaldo’s angled free-kick was beaten away by Sorrentino before former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can almost scored with his first touch – but his header was saved.

There was, though, still time for plenty of late drama after Mandzukic’s header had initially been given before the lengthy delay, with goalkeeper Sorrentino – who spent time at Juve as a youngster – having to be replaced by Andrea Seculin, only for Bernardeschi to have the final say.

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