Cristiano Ronaldo's 760th goal in professional football helped deliver Supercoppa Italiana glory for Juventus as they beat Napoli 2-0 after Lorenzo Insigne's penalty miss. (More Football News)
Having seen their aspirations of again retaining the Serie A title dealt a blow by a 2-0 loss to rivals Inter, Juve could have been considered vulnerable to a Napoli side coming off a 6-0 thumping of Fiorentina.
But Andrea Pirlo's men grew into the game in the second half and Ronaldo rewarded their efforts with what proved to be the decisive goal in the 64th minute.
Pirlo's first title as Juve head coach came with a dramatic conclusion, however, Insigne incredibly chipping wide from the spot after Weston McKinnie had felled Dries Mertens before Napoli were caught cold on an injury-time counter and Alvaro Morata's simple finish sealed the Bianconeri's ninth Supercoppa crown.
An open but low-key first half was light on chances until Wojciech Szczesny had to produce a reaction to keep out Hirving Lozano's diving header from Diego Demme's cross in the 28th minute.
Ronaldo went close with a dipping effort from the left side of the box that narrowly cleared the crossbar 12 minutes later and it was Juve who started the second half brighter.
Davide Ospina had to be alert to prevent Federico Bernardeschi from scoring within a minute of his half-time introduction after good work from McKinnie.
Ronaldo then prodded narrowly wide after getting ahead of a throughball from Arthur, but he made no mistake when Bernardeschi's corner deflected into his path, lashing home from point-blank range.
Insigne had a golden chance to erase the deficit 10 minutes from time after Paolo Valeri pointed to the spot following a VAR review. He sent Szczesny the wrong way but shot woefully wide of the left-hand post.
The excellent Szczesny produced a fine 94th-minute save with his legs to deny Insigne and glory for the Bianconeri was sealed as Cuadrado broke free soon after and laid the pass on for Morata to stroke home.
What does it mean? - The first of many for Pirlo?
It could have been so different had Insigne been more accurate from 12 yards, but that will not matter to Pirlo, who will toast his first trophy as a coach after a glittering playing career.
Juve may not be the force in Serie A that they have been in previous years, but the manner in which they kept out a Napoli side that so ruthlessly ripped apart Fiorentina was worthy of the trophy.
Record for Ronaldo?
Ronaldo's tally of 760 goals matches, in some quarters, that of the most prolific goalscorer in football history, Josef Bican, who played internationally for Austria and Czechoslovakia between 1933 and 1949.
However, there are those – including FIFA's official website – who credit Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague legend Bican with scoring 805 goals in 530 matches. So it is unclear whether Ronaldo's opener was, in fact, a history-making one.
Insigne off the mark
The penalty miss summed up an ineffective night for Insigne, who had just two shots and did not play a key pass in a forgettable performance from the forward. Insigne has now missed all three penalties he has taken against Juve across all competitions (excluding penalties after extra time).
4 - Álvaro Morata is the only Juventus player to have scored at least one goal in all four competitions played by the Bianconeri this season (Italian Super Cup, Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia). Ubiquitous.#JuveNapoli #PS5Supercup pic.twitter.com/3PbsenPa6j— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 20, 2021
Key Opta Facts
- Ronaldo has scored 32 goals in his last 32 appearances for Juventus in all competitions.
- Morata is the only player to have scored in each competition played by Juventus this season: the Supercoppa Italiana, Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia.
- Insigne has missed all his three penalties taken for Napoli against Juventus in all competitions (without considering the penalties after extra time).
- However, he had scored each of his previous 12 penalties taken for Napoli in all competitions, his previous miss came against Juventus in Serie A in March 2019.
Juve host Bologna in Serie A on Sunday, when third-placed Napoli visit Hellas Verona.