Cristiano Ronaldo scored for a record-equalling 11th consecutive Serie A game in his 1,000th professional match as Juventus extended their league lead on Saturday with a 2-1 win over basement club SPAL.
Aaron Ramsey added a second after an hour, before Andrea Petagna pulled one back from the spot for SPAL, amid controversy as the penalty was awarded following a VAR review despite the pitchside monitor not working.
It got Juventus back to winning ways away from home after consecutive defeats against Napoli and Hellas Verona, and ahead of next week’s trip to French club Lyon in the Champions League last 16, first leg.
Maurizio Sarri’s side opened up a four-point lead on second-placed Lazio who travel to Genoa on Sunday.
Inter Milan are six points behind the champions before their game at home against Sampdoria.
“These were very difficult matches and in the last few years we had never won here,” said Sarri.
Ronaldo had an early goal ruled offside but made no mistake when running onto Juan Cuadrado’s low cross after Ramsey’s ball forward.
Ronaldo has 21 goals in Serie A this season, five behind leading scorer Ciro Immobile.
Milan held in Tuscany
Petagna pulled one back with a penalty awarded for a Daniele Rugani foul on Simone Missiroli after 68 minutes, a decision made by VAR officials with referee unable to check the faulty monitor.
“Today we had goals scored using VAR when VAR wasn’t working,” said Sarri.
“I understand that the regulation allows this and (referee Federico) La Penna explained it to me, but I don’t agree with it.”
Ronaldo missed a chace for a second when his free-kick hit the crossbar, but Sarri’s side earned a valuable three points against an outfit they had failed to beat away from home in the previous two seasons.
Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini made his first start since being sidelined with a cruciate ligament knee injury last August, playing for 55 minutes in Ferrara.
“We’re taking it slowly, seeing how he reacts,” added Sarri.
“He can’t play three games in six days that’s for sure.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a goal ruled out in the first half for a handball with Milan also losing goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to a foot injury seven minutes after the break with Asmir Begovic making his debut.
But Erick Pulgar grabbed a point for 13th-placed Fiorentina from the spot with five minutes to go for an Alessio Romagnoli foul on Patrick Cutrone.