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Ronaldo makes winning debut as Juve edge Chievo

Bernardeschi stars

VERONA, Italy, Aug 18, (AFP): Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo missed chances to score on his Serie A debut as defending champions Juventus snatched a late 3-2 win against Chievo in a thrilling opening match of the 2018-2019 league season on Saturday.

Ronaldo, 33, joined from Real Madrid last month in a deal worth 100 million euros ($114.5 million).

Substitute Federico Bernardeschi scored the winner two minutes into injury time with Germany international Sami Khedira opening the scoring after just three minutes at the Bentegodi Stadium.

Chievo’s Mattia Bani turned into his own net after 75 minutes following pressure from Leonardo Bonucci to pull the champions level after the home side had taken a shock 2-1 lead.

Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski had headed in and an Emanuele Giaccherini penalty gave the Flying Donkeys hope of a rare win over the Turin giants.

Mario Mandzukic had a goal disallowed late in the game following an incident which floored Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino who required medical assistance.

But Bernardeschi finished off an Alex Sandro assist to seal the first three points for the champions as they target an eighth straight league title.

The game had been preceded by a minute’s silence for the victims of the Genoa bridge disaster with players taking to the pitch wearing black armbands.

Serie A runners-up Napoli signed Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina on a season-long loan, Simone Zaza completed a move from Valencia to Torino and Gervinho returned after a spell in China to Parma just before the transfer window closed in Italy on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 100 million euro move from Real Madrid to champions Juventus topped the summer spending spree with over one billion euros splashed out in Italy, second only to the English Premier League.

The final day of transfers saw promoted Parma secure the return to Italy of former Arsenal and Roma winger Gervinho who left the capital for Chinese club Hebei China Fortune in January 2016.

The 31-year-old Ivory Coast international has signed a contract until 2021 with the Serie A newcomers.

Following the departure of Pepe Reina to AC Milan, Napoli signed their third goalkeeper of the summer with Ospina on loan from Arsenal, joining Orestis Karnezis and Alex Meret from Udinese.

Ospina, 29, joined the Gunners in 2014 from Nice and made 70 appearances, winning the FA Cup twice. Napoli will have the option to make the deal permanent once the loan expires.

AC Milan completed the signings of Spanish winger Samu Castillejo and Uruguayan midfielder Diego Laxalt, with France international midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko also officially presented at the San Siro.

“We have made eight new signings and we are convinced we have handed (coach) Rino Gattuso a younger and stronger squad than last season’s,” said AC Milan president Paolo Scaroni.

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