Ronaldo had failed to find the back of the net in those three winless matches, but normal service was resumed as the prolific forward took his tally for the season to 25 goals at Allianz Stadium on Tuesday (AEDT).
💥 @Cristiano makes these look so easy! The Portuguese star completes the set - he's now scored against EVERY other @SerieA team | Watch @juventusfc v @FcCrotoneOff LIVE NOW on beIN 2! #JUVCRO #Ronaldo— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) February 22, 2021
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The Portugal captain headed home twice in the first half and should have had a hat-trick prior to the interval as Crotone were outclassed by the champions.
💎 This header from Diego Carlos leaves @CAOsasuna 'keeper Sergio Herrera with no chance!— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) February 22, 2021
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Weston McKennie added a third in the second half as Juve moved eight points behind leaders Inter with a game in hand, while Crotone look destined for relegation following a fifth consecutive defeat.
💥 @WMckennie makes it three for @juventusfc as @Cristiano hunts for his hat-trick. Can he get there? Watch LIVE on beIN 2 to find out! #JUVCRO— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_AUS) February 22, 2021
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Crotone almost took a stunning early lead when Arkadiusz Reca volleyed wide at the far post after Danilo slipped while attempting to deal with Junior Messias' cross.
Ronaldo drilled a free-kick from just outside the penalty area into the wall and cut a frustrated figure once again when he failed hit the target from point-blank range after Alex Cordaz got a fingertip on Federico Chiesa's dangerous cross.
Matthijs de Ligt volleyed narrowly wide and Aaron Ramsey headed an inviting centre from the lively Chiesa against the crossbar before Ronaldo finally opened the scoring.
The former Real Madrid man headed home Alex Sandro's pinpoint cross 38 minutes in, then rose to powerfully nod in Ramsey's delivery in first-half stoppage time before somehow firing wide of an open goal moments later with Crotone all at sea defensively.
Ronaldo wanted a penalty when he felt Lisandro Magallan had upended him as he shot tamely wide of the near post before Gianluigi Buffon prevented Junior Messias from pulling a goal back.
Cordaz kept out Ronaldo’s drive with his feet, but he had no chance when McKennie rifled home a loose ball as Crotone failed to deal with a 66th-minute corner.
Ramsey should have added a fourth but the busy Cordaz saved with his feet again and Federico Bernardeschi fired just over the bar against his former club as Juve put sorry Crotone to the sword.