Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo missed chances to score on his Serie A debut but helped Juventus get their title defence off to a winning start with a late 3-2 victory against Chievo in the opening match of the 2018-2019 league season on Saturday.
Ronaldo, 33, who joined from Real Madrid last month in a deal worth 100 million euros ($114.5 million), played the entire match in the northeastern town, celebrating with his new teammates after the bruising encounter.
“Cristiano held up well on his debut, it’s a pity he didn’t score but he worked well with the team after only seven days together,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“I was struck by how at ease he was in the team, he was very happy with the win at the end, he had a good match.
“It’s a victory that we needed, to get us into the championship.”
Amid drama in the final minutes, substitute Federico Bernardeschi scored the winner in injury time after Mario Mandzukic had a goal disallowed and Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was floored and required medical assistance.
Germany international Sami Khedira had opened the scoring after just three minutes at the Bentegodi Stadium for the seven-time defending champions.
Ronaldo came close to his first Serie A goal in the 18th minute from a Juan Cuadrado cross but drilled just wide, with Cuadrado firing over minutes later despite having the Portuguese striker well-placed, before Douglas Costa curled over the crossbar.
But the Flying Donkeys were not intimidated by their lofty rivals with ex-Juventus and Napoli player Emanuele Giaccherini setting up Mariusz Stepinski to head in a 37th-minute equaliser following poor defending by Leonardo Bonucci.
Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could do nothing to keep out his compatriot’s effort, having replaced the departed Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal for this season.
The game turned on its head when new Juventus signing Joao Cancelo fouled Giaccherini in the box with the latter slotting in after 56 minutes.
But Chievo’s Mattia Bani turned into his own net after 75 minutes following pressure from returning Juventus defender Bonucci to pull the champions level.