Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Juventus to the next level, says Massimiliano Allegri

Ronaldo once again impressed on the biggest stage as Juve beat Valencia 1-0 on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 28 November 2018
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Cristiano Ronaldo has taken Juventus to the next level, says Massimiliano Allegri

  • Portuguese star set new record with 100th win in the Champions League.
  • Old Lady looking to win third European crown with Ronaldo now on board.

TURIN: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri hailed the impact Cristiano Ronaldo was having on the Italian champions as the Portuguese star became the first player to achieve 100 Champions League wins in Tuesday’s 1-0 success over Valencia that clinched their passage to the knockout rounds.
“Ronaldo gives us a sense of security and confidence,” said Allegri of the beaten finalists in two of the last four editions of the elite European competition.
“The team is essentially the same as last season. We’ve grown, become faster in playing the ball, but then of course, there is Cristiano Ronaldo.
“This team is constantly improving — they’re passing and putting play together more quickly.”
Ronaldo — who joined “the Old Lady” last summer from Real Madrid for €112 million ($126 million) — is targeting a sixth Champions League title to add to his four with the Spanish team and one with Manchester United.
The Italian giants are looking for their third European title and first since 1995.
Last season they exited in the quarterfinals to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid — thats largely to the Portuguese’s outrageous overhead kick which gave Gianluigi Buffon no chance in the Juve goal.
The 33-year-old played a key role against Valencia providing the assist on 59 minutes which Croatian Mario Mandzukic tapped in for his third goal in as many matches.
Juventus had needed just a point to ensure qualification. Their win combined with Manchester United’s late 1-0 win over Young Boys at Old Trafford means Valencia have crashed out of the competition.
Allegri’s side will now have to wait to see whether they top Group H when they play their final group game mid-December in Bern against Young Boys.
Ronaldo came out firing on all cylinders after his controversial red card during his first Champions League game for Juventus in Valencia back in September, which Allegri’s side still won 2-0.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had two chances within the first three minutes to add to his record tally of 121 Champions League goals.
Just before the hour mark, Ronaldo broke free of Valencia defender Gabriel and with some fancy footwork fired low across the face of the goal leaving Mandzukic to finish off.
“You can see how united we are including the forward,” said Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini.
“All three of them — Ronaldo, Mandzukic and Dybala, really put themselves about, it makes everything much easier.
Since his move from Real Madrid Ronaldo has scored nine league goals in just 13 matches. That scoring rate for a first-time Juve player has not been accomplished since Pietro Anastasi managed it in the 1968-69 season. Added to that Ronaldo has been directly involved in half of Juve’s 28 goals in the current Serie A campaign, with nine goals and five assists.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).