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Ronaldo's brace helps Juventus overturn Inter in Coppa Italia

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Rome, Feb 3 (IANS) Cristiano Ronaldo’s double helped Juventus rally to beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

With Romelu Lukaku suspended, Inter on Tuesday opted for Alexis Sanchez to partner Lautaro Martinez up front, while Juventus visited the San Siro without Paulo Dybala and Aaron Ramsey, and Gianluigi Buffon started between the sticks to mark his 1,000th professional game, reports Xinhua news agency.

Inter made a dream start through a counter-attack after just eight minutes, as Nicolo Barella burst down the right and squared for Martinez to finish with a first-time strike.

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The Bianconeri got back on level terms in the 23rd minute as Juan Cuadrado was dragged down by Ashley Young. The referee awarded Juventus a penalty after viewing the VAR, and Ronaldo kept his composure to convert it.

The away side turned the game around thanks to a howler between Alessandro Bastoni and Samir Handanovic in the 35th minute, when Ronaldo was alert to pounce on Bastoni to intercept the ball, rounding an on-rushing Handanovic and placing an angled drive into the net.

Inter had several chances in the second half but was still unable to break Juve’s defense, with Sanchez notably missing a sitter which was blocked by Merih Demiral near the goal-line.

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The return leg will be played on February 9.

–IANS

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