Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Serie A hat trick with three goals in the second half of a Juventus blowout of Cagliari.
Ronaldo scored in the 49th minute, 67th minute and 82nd minute of the 4-0 victory Monday at Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy. He now has eight scores in his last five Serie A matches. Juventus sits in second place in Serie A, trailing Inter Milan due to goal differential.
"The most important aspect is performance and the team played very well," Ronaldo told reporters. "Certainly it's nice to score, but beyond my goals today we had to win and put pressure on Inter.
"We must be calm and think about doing our best. We are doing it: We are improving game after game, in defense, in midfield and up front. We must grow in all aspects."
Ronaldo scored the first goal of the game in the 49th minute. The Portuguese striker intercepted a pass from the Cagliari defense during that sequence. He then ran into the box and put a quick move on Cagliari keeper Robin Olsen before finishing with a shot into the empty net.
Cagliari midfielder Marko Rog brought down Juventus striker Paulo Dybala to give Ronaldo a penalty kick in the 67th minute. The Juventus star easily beat Olsen with a shot into the right side of the net for that score.
Gonzalo Higuain gave Juventus a 3-0 lead with another goal in the 81st minute. The Juventus striker scorched down the left flank before dribbling to his right while inside the box. He then ripped a shot into the far-post netting, beating a diving Olsen.
Ronaldo finished his hat trick in the 82nd minute. Juventus was on a breakaway during that sequence. Douglas Costa dribbled toward the top of the box, before firing a pass ahead to Ronaldo on his left. Ronaldo touched the ball with the outside of his right foot, before using his left foot to fire a shot under Olsen and into the net.
"Today we played 80 minutes on the same level as the first 45 against Udinese, Sampdoria and Napoli," Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri said. "For a longer period we have put in place a quality that so far we have only expressed in flashes ... The biggest difficulty we have at the moment comes from the movements of the midfielders who are different with the attacking midfielder from when we are with a 4-3-3 [formation]. It is a difficulty that I hope we will be able to overcome in this month of training."
Juventus faces Roma in another Serie A clash at 2:45 p.m. EST Sunday at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.