Ronaldo scores again as Juventus seals 9th straight title

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TURIN, Italy (AP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored the go-ahead goal and Juventus beat Sampdoria 2-0 Sunday to secure the Turin club’s record-extending ninth straight Serie A title.

At the final whistle, Juventus players danced in celebration and embraced each other before the empty stands inside the Allianz Stadium.

For his 31st goal in 32 matches, Ronaldo completed a set piece when Miralem Pjanić rolled across a free kick for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to fire into the far top corner in first-half added time.

Federico Bernardeschi then sealed it by scoring his first Serie A goal in nearly two years by knocking in a rebound of Ronaldo’s shot midway through the second half.

Ronaldo banged a penalty kick off the crossbar in the 89th.

Still, Juventus moved an insurmountable seven points clear of Inter Milan with two games remaining and can now switch its focus to the Champions League.

The Bianconeri host Lyon in the delayed round-of-16 second leg on Aug. 7 needing to overturn a 1-0 loss from February. If Juventus can do that, it will advance to the final eight in Lisbon.

It was a bittersweet night, though, as Juventus lost both right back Danilo and forward Paulo Dybala to injury in the first half.

Danilo clashed heads with a defender while Dybala pulled up with an apparent left thigh issue.

Juventus entered the break for the coronavirus pandemic with a one-point lead over Lazio in what was expected to be a two-way fight for the title but the Roman club struggled for much of the restart.

Sampdoria ended with 10 men when Morten Thorsby picked up his second yellow for a foul on Pjanić.

It was Juve’s 36th Italian league title overall.

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Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, second left, celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Sampdoria at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy, Sunday, July 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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