TURIN, ITALY.- Torino looked set to take all 3 points from Friday’s derby against Juventus until Cristiano Ronaldo scored with six minutes left in regulation to level the score at 1-1 and keep the Bianconeri unbeaten at home in Serie A this season.
While Juve clinched their eighth straight domestic title two weeks ago, Torino had more than local bragging rights on the line in the contest at Turin’s Allianz Stadium.
A win would have lifted Torino into the fourth and final Champions League berth. Instead, they sit sixth, 2 points behind fourth-place Atalanta, who have a game in hand.
With Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala missing due to injuries, Ronaldo was joined by budding star Moises Kean in the vanguard of Juve’s attack.
Torino, meanwhile, had to fill the gap left on their back line by the absence of defensive anchor Emiliano Moretti, whose replacement, Gleison Bremer, had only 12 minutes of Serie A match experience.
Playing on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the plane crash that wiped out the «Grande Torino» squad who won five consecutive Serie A titles in the 1940s, Torino began strongly.
Andrea Belotti forced a save from Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the early going and Torino went ahead in the 18th minute, when Bianconeri midfielder Miralem Pjanic coughed up the ball to Sasa Lukic and the Serb scored his first-ever goal for the club.
Taking the lead buoyed the confidence of Torino, who came into the derby riding a five-match unbeaten streak.
Juve reacted and Torino spent most of the rest of the first half with their backs to their own goal, but the closest the hosts came to equalizing was a Blaise Matuidi shot turned aside by keeper Salvatore Sirigu and a Ronaldo strike from 25 yards that grazed the outside of the post.
Torino kept up their impressive work-rate in the second half and held Juve to a pair of chances: Leonardo Spinazzola fired wide at the hour mark and Kean served up an easy stop for Sirigu in the 77th minute.
The match entered the final 10 minutes with Torino poised for their first away victory over the Bianconeri since 1995, but Ronaldo got his head to a Spinazzola cross in the 84th minute to knot the score at 1-1.
CR7 has scored 21 Serie A goals in his first season with Juventus.