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Ronaldo escapes red card for horror tackle in Sassuolo thriller

Frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo was hoping for another red letter day of amazing stats – but instead was just lucky to escape a red card.

The Juventus superstar went into tonight’s 3-3 thriller at Sassuolo with 20 goals from his past 18 games, needing one more strike to become the first player to net 50 times in the Italian, Spanish and English top flights.

Juventus frontman Cristiano Ronaldo was booked for a contentious challenge on Sassuoolo midfielder Francesco Magnanelli

But as well as failing to provide a goal or assist for the first time in 19 matches, he also caught Sassuolo’s record-appearance holder Francesco Magnanelli with a studs-up challenge.

Referee Paolo Valeri merely booked Ronaldo, who was perhaps showing his frustration as Sassuolo had turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.

Alex Sandro soon headed Juve’s point-saver to keep the Serie A leaders seven points clear of second-placed Atalanta with five games left as they eye a ninth successive crown.

But Ronaldo had to wait until late on for the main exception to his own quiet night, his twinkling footwork conjuring a fierce shot well saved by home keeper Andrea Consigli.

It was the first time in six Serie A games that the former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward has failed to score in Serie A, having amassed seven in six following the restart.

Sassuolo’s Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Bourabia gives Cristiano Ronaldo a helping hand, which some feel the ref did too by not showing him a red card

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But 32 goals so far this season, including 28 in the league, is still an incredible feat.

And if Juve do retain the title Ronaldo will become the first player to win two domestic crowns apiece in Italy, Spain and England.

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