MILAN, Italy– Cristiano
Ronaldo on Saturday became the first Juventus player to score in 10 successive
Serie A games but the champions fell 2-1 at Hellas Verona to leave an opening
to their title rivals.

Ronaldo — who turned 35 this week — broke through after 65
minutes, to hit his 15th goal in 10 games and take his league tally to 20.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is closing in on the
all-time Serie A record of scoring in 11 consecutive games held by Gabriel
Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella.

But Juventus paid for defensive errors with Fabio Borini
pulling Verona level with quarter of an hour to go, before veteran striker
Giampaolo Pazzini won the match for the promoted side from the penalty spot
four minutes from time following a Leonardo Bonucci handball.

Juventus are three points ahead of Inter Milan, who have a
chance to pull level when they take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan in
Sunday’s derby clash at the San Siro.

Lazio are four points behind the leaders in third before
they travel to Parma.

The defeat was the third this season for Maurizio Sarri’s
side but second in three games after losing 2-1 at Napoli just two weeks ago.

“We have to understand that winning is not a foregone
conclusion,” blasted Sarri. 

“We need to get it into our heads that we can’t have
lapses in concentration as happened this evening.

“We dropped points through carelessness.”

Verona meanwhile are up to sixth after extending their
unbeaten run to eight games days after earning a creditable goalless draw at
Lazio, who can pull to within a point of Juve with a win at Parma on Sunday.

“We’ve created a group of hungry kids,” said
Verona coach Ivan Juric. 

“Heart played a big role, the lads were tired but they
gave it everything.”

– Atalanta consolidate fourth place –

Earlier Atalanta consolidated fourth place with a 2-1 win at
Fiorentina that ended the Bergamo side’s 27-year away winless run against the
Tuscan club.

Federico Chiesa’s scorcher just after half an hour gave
mid-table Fiorentina hope of another win over Atalanta, whom they eliminated
from the Italian Cup at their Stadio Artemio Franchi last month.

But Duvan Zapata tapped in four minutes after the break to
level the scores before Ruslan Malinovsky came off the bench to seal victory
with 18 minutes left, giving Atalanta their first win away at the ‘Viola’ since
1993.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side pull three points clear of
fifth-placed Roma in the race for the Champions League following the capital
club’s 3-2 home defeat to Bologna on Friday, but are still eight points behind
Lazio.

“These are three very important, key points. We haven’t
won here for 27 years, and we were up a against an in-form team,” said
Gasperini.

Atalanta host Roma next weekend before they play at home against
Valencia in the Champions League last-16, having qualified for the competition
for the first time this season.

“We have to exploit Roma’s difficulties and our home
advantage in the next match,” added Zapata. 

“If we do well against the ‘Giallorossi’ it will set us
up for the Champions League match against Valencia.”

Moreno Longo started his reign as Torino coach with a 3-1
home defeat to Sampdoria, with the struggling Genoa club’s goals coming in a
nine-minute second-half spell.

Torino, in 12th, have now lost four games in a row,
conceding 16 goals, and could fall further off the Europa League pace by the
end of the weekend.

Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria are now 16th, seven points clear
of the relegation zone.

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