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Ronaldo scores twice as Juve overcome fright to win at Empoli

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By Reuters
Ronaldo scores twice as Juve overcome fright to win at Empoli
Soccer Football - Serie A - Empoli v Juventus - Stadio Carlo Castellani, Empoli, Italy - October 27, 2018 Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo scores their first goal from the penalty spot REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini   -   Copyright  JENNIFER LORENZINI(Reuters)

(Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice, the first a penalty and the second a booming long-range shot, to give Juventus a 2-1 win at Empoli in Serie A on Saturday after their lowly opponents took a shock first-half lead.

Promoted Empoli, with one win all season and 18th in the 20-team table, stunned the visitors with a Francesco Caputo goal — the first time Juve had trailed at halftime this season.

But the champions turned the match around after the break as Ronaldo took his league tally to seven and left his side top with 28 points out of a possible 30, seven points clear of second-placed Napoli who play on Sunday.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini, who was named in the starting lineup, suffered a problem in the warm-up and was replaced by Daniele Rugani.

Empoli played some enterprising football which belied their lowly position and took a shock lead in the 28th minute.

Afriyie Acquah ran half the length of the pitch and his pass was deflected by Juve’s Rodrigo Bentancur into the path of Caputo, who curled his shot past Wojciech Szczesny.

Miralem Pjanic fired against the post as Juventus came roaring back in the second half and it was no surprise when they equalised in the 54th minute.

Empoli’s Ismael Bennacer lost possession in the box to Paulo Dybala, both players went to ground, the referee awarded a penalty amid Empoli protests and Ronaldo fired a low spot kick past Ivan Provedel.

Sixteen minutes later, the Portuguese forward collected a pass outside the area and fired a dipping, swerving shot past Provedel from 25 metres.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood; editing by Ken Ferris)