Late Ronaldo goal foils Torino

Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their first goal against Torino on May 3, 2019. (Reuters pic)

TURIN: Cristiano Ronaldo headed a late equaliser to deny Torino their first win away to neighbours Juventus for 24 years as the two sides drew 1-1 in Serie A on Friday.

Sasa Lukic stunned the recently-crowned Serie A champions by capitalising on a mistake by Miralem Pjanic to give Torino the lead but the visitors were foiled by one of Ronaldo’s trademark headers with six minutes left.

Torino, needing a top-four finish to qualify for the Champions League for the first time, are sixth with 57 points, two behind fourth-placed Atalanta. Juve clinched an eighth successive title two weeks ago.

“Unfortunately, we made too many mistakes and lacked quality with the final pass, otherwise we would probably have won,” said Torino coach Walter Mazzarri.

“If you don’t score a second goal against these teams, you are unlikely to win – and we were punished by the phenomenon that is Ronaldo.”

The match was being played one day before the 70th anniversary of the Superga air disaster which killed 18 Torino players and officials, wiping out the most successful team in the club’s history.

Torino last won away to Juventus in 1995 but for over an hour looked as if they could finally end that run against their more glamorous neighbours.

Lukic put them ahead when he dispossessed Pjanic and curled his shot into the net in the 18th minute.

Juventus spent most of the second half lobbing crosses into the penalty area while Torino nearly had a second when Ola Aina broke through the defence only to fire over the bar.

Juve’s tactic finally paid off with six minutes left with Leonardo Spinazzola got to the byline and Ronaldo headed in from the cross for his 21st Serie A goal of the season to maintain his side’s unbeaten home record in the league.

“It would have been an unfair defeat, we played a good game,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. “Our passing was a little imprecise in the final 20 metres but, in the second half, Torino didn’t have any more shots on goal.”