Andrea Pirlo gave Cristiano Ronaldo his backing after the Juventus superstar spurned a chance to earn the Serie A champions a valuable win from the penalty spot against Atalanta.
Ronaldo saw his 61st-minute spot-kick smothered by Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw as Juve missed the opportunity to make up ground on unbeaten Serie A leaders Milan.
Federico Chiesa had fired Juve into a 29th-minute lead only to see his stunning long-range effort cancelled out by Remo Freuler’s powerful strike to pull the visitors level approaching the hour-mark.
When Chiesa was brought down by Hans Hateboer four minutes later, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo stepped up from 12 yards and slotted the ball into a diving Gollini’s arms.
Ronaldo has now failed to convert four of the 30 penalties he has taken for the Bianconeri, but Juve legend and head coach Pirlo did not hesitate to praise his forward’s contribution.
“It was not an easy game but he did well,” Pirlo told reporters post-match.
“If he scored his penalty some judgments would have changed.
“He did what he had to, maybe not brilliant as usual but he is a champion and champions miss penalties too.”
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 16, 2020
With the points shared at the Allianz Stadium, title rivals Milan maintained their four-point advantage over the defending champions as Juve racked up their sixth draw in 12 matches.
That feat has not been seen for 36 years, according to Opta, when Juve also drew six of their first 12 games and closed out the 1984-85 season in sixth place.
Juve are chasing a 10th successive Scudetto and Pirlo is fully aware that genuine championship contenders must convert draws into wins.
“Too many [draws] for our ranking,” he added. “But today was a good game, not like other draws with other teams. We played against a strong team who is not a surprise anymore in Italy as in Europe.
“We played face to face, we had many chances and we deserved to win.”
Pirlo’s third-placed Juventus aim to get back to winning ways when they travel to face Parma on Saturday.
Just posting this photo for higher engagement. One point away at Juventus. Not bad. pic.twitter.com/jdV2vsWFLG
— Marten de Roon (@Dirono) December 16, 2020
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