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Cristiano Ronaldo returns from COVID-19, scores twice in Juventus win

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo missed five games due to a COVID-19 infection before he returned to score twice against Spezia on Sunday in Cesena, Italy. Photo by Pasquale Bove/EPA-EFE
Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo missed five games due to a COVID-19 infection before he returned to score twice against Spezia on Sunday in Cesena, Italy. Photo by Pasquale Bove/EPA-EFE

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in his first game in over two weeks -- a hiatus caused by positive COVID-19 tests -- to lead Juventus to a 4-1 win over Spezia in Cesena, Italy.

Ronaldo missed five games after he tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-October before he tested negative and made his return on Sunday for the Italian Serie A match. He scored in the 59th minute and in the 76th minute of the victory.

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"I went back to doing what I like: playing football," Ronaldo told reporters. "Cristiano is back, that's what counts."

Ronaldo entered the game in the 56th minute as a substitute for striker Paulo Dybala. The game was tied at 1-1 at the time of his entry. Alvaro Morata scored in the 14th minute for Juventus. Tommaso Pobega scored for Spezia in the 32nd minute.

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Morata spotted Ronaldo running through the middle of the field less than three minutes after he entered the game. The Juventus striker split several defenders with a pass ahead into the box for Ronaldo. Ronaldo then tapped the ball around Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel before he smacked a shot into the net for a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute.

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Juventus midfielder Federico Chiesa then assisted a third score in the 67th minute. Chiesa chipped a long pass into the box for Adrien Rabiot to start that sequence. Rabiot brought the ball down before he dribbled to his right and finished with a shot just inside the near post.

Ronaldo netted the game's final score with a penalty kick. Chiesa was brought down in the box by Spezia midfielder Paolo Bartolomei to set up Ronaldo's attempt.

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Ronaldo ran up to the penalty spot and chipped a soft shot over Provedel and into the net for the final goal.

Juventus battles Ferencvaros in Champions League play at 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday in Budapest, Hungary.

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