Serie A round-up: Cristiano Ronaldo earns point for 10-man Juventus at Atalanta
Inter Milan beat nine-man Napoli after eventful finish
Last Updated: 26/12/18 10:27pm
Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to score a late equaliser as 10-man Juventus salvaged a 2-2 draw at Atalanta on Wednesday to move nine points clear of Napoli at the top of Serie A.
Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli visit third-placed Inter Milan later in the day, though, with the chance to cut the gap to the reigning champions.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to rest Ronaldo as the former Real Madrid man did not start a league game for the first time since moving to Italy, but the 33-year-old was needed to level in the 78th minute after Duvan Zapata's double had put the hosts in front following Berat Djimsiti's own goal.
Ronaldo's efforts keep Juventus unbeaten in Serie A, ahead of the final game before the winter break against Sampdoria on Saturday.
"It's a shame because we still wanted to win, but the team did well," said Allegri.
Everything appeared to be going to plan for Juve when they grabbed the lead in only the second minute when Atalanta centre-back Djimsiti completely miskicked Alex Sandro's deflected cross into his own net.
But Zapata put a spanner in the Juve works with a fantastic individual goal midway through the first half, spinning centre-back Leonardo Bonucci with ease before drilling a left-footed strike into the far corner.
Douglas Costa fired wide just after the half-hour mark as the visitors looked to restore their advantage, but the Turin giants were reduced to 10 men eight minutes after half-time when Rodrigo Bentancur was shown a second yellow card for a poor tackle on Timothy Castagne.
Colombian striker Zapata wasted little time in making Bentancur pay, bundling in from almost on the goalline to put Atalanta ahead and score his ninth league goal of the season.
Allegri sent on Ronaldo with 25 minutes remaining, and less than 60 seconds after Robin Gosens wasted a golden opportunity to seal victory for Atalanta, the Portuguese star pounced to nod home from close range.
Inter Milan beat nine-man Napoli 1-0 thanks to an injury-time winner from Lautaro Martinez.
Napoli played the final 10 minutes a man short after Kalidou Koulibaly received two yellow cards in quick succession, the second for sarcastically applauding the referee after being shown the first.
Koulibaly earlier made a decisive goal-line clearance to deny Inter captain Mauro Icardi, who also hit the crossbar straight from kick-off.
Napoli ended the match with nine men after Lorenzo Insigne was also sent off following an off-the-ball incident.
Earlier on Wednesday, AC Milan's push for a top-four finish in Serie A took a hit as Gennaro Gattuso's side were held to an uneventful 0-0 draw at struggling Frosinone.
The seven-time European champions have now failed to score in four consecutive league games for the first time since 1984, managing three goalless stalemates in the process.
Their efforts to secure European football for next season suffered a setback against a resolute Frosinone outfit who almost snatched a dramatic 93rd-minute winner when Camillo Ciano was denied by visiting goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Ciano had already seen a goal ruled out by VAR for a foul eight minutes before half-time. Frosinone remain second-bottom above only winless Chievo, having managed just one victory all season.
Milan slipped to sixth, behind fourth-placed Lazio by three points in the race for Champions League qualification.
Lazio won 2-0 at Bologna, while Sampdoria leapfrogged Milan into fifth by seeing off rock-bottom Chievo 2-0.
Roma are a point behind Milan in seventh after easing to a 3-1 win over Sassuolo, while Torino climbed to eighth courtesy of a 3-0 defeat of Empoli.