Juventus takes control of Serie A with win at Roma

              Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo, right, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Serie A soccer match between Roma and Juventus at the Rome Olympic Stadium, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME (AP) — A 2-1 win at Roma on Sunday placed Juventus in prime position for a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title.

Goals from Merih Demiral and Cristiano Ronaldo in the opening 10 minutes moved the Bianconeri two points ahead of Inter Milan, which was held 1-1 by Atalanta a day earlier, at the halfway stage of the season.

Poor defense by Roma contributed to both goals.

Gianluca Mancini left Demiral unmarked at the far post to redirect in a free kick from Paulo Dybala only three minutes in at the Stadio Olimpico.

Then Jordan Veretout lost control inside his own area and reacted by fouling Dybala to set up a penalty from Ronaldo.

It was Ronaldo’s ninth goal in his last six league matches, making him the most prolific scorer in Europe’s top five leagues since the start of December.

Both Demiral and Roma midfielder Nicolò Zaniolo exited the game due to injuries before the break.

Diego Perotti pulled one back for Roma midway through the second half with a penalty following a VAR consultation to determine a hand ball.

Roma forward Edin Dzeko hit the post just before Perotti’s penalty.