Juventus boss Pirlo defends resting Ronaldo after dismal draw at Benevento

Cristiano Ronaldo Ferencvaros Juventus
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The Portugal star did not travel for Saturday's match, which saw Juve lose more ground in the Serie A title race

Juventus head coach Andrea Pirlo has defended his decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo after his side were held to a 1-1 draw at Benevento on Saturday.

Alvaro Morata gave the visitors the lead in the 21st minute, but the home side pegged the champions back in first-half stoppage time through Gaetano Letizia.

Juve were unable to find a winner in the second half and therefore remain in fifth place in the Serie A table, and could go six points behind table-topping AC Milan should the Rossoneri win against Fiorentina on Sunday.

After the draw, Pirlo's decision to rest Ronaldo was brought back up for debate with the manager opting to leave the 35-year-old out for the trip to face Pippo Inzaghi's men.

When asked about the Portuguese, Pirlo said his star forward had a minor injury midweek but played in Juve's win over Ferencvaros anyway.

“He had a slight problem midweek and wanted to play in the Champions League anyway," Pirlo told Sky Italia. "After international duty, it was natural he’d need some rest. Ronaldo is an added value, but we must try to play our game even in his absence.

“It happens when you have a lot of players on international duty and also play the Champions League. We’re hardly the only club in this situation.”

The Bianconeri have been reliant on the goalscoring of Ronaldo and Morata this season, but will have to cope without the Spaniard for next weekend's derby against Torino after he was sent off in stoppage time on Saturday.

Pirlo admitted that his side lost their composure at the end of the game, which could prove costly next weekend.

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“We controlled the first half, had the chances to kill off the game, but still haven’t worked out how to read the various moments of the match," Pirlo said.

“We had a corner and took it quickly on the stroke of half-time, but we should’ve controlled the situation and held out until the break. It’s not the first time we have conceded just before the break.

“At the end, we got a bit chaotic and lost our cool, we didn’t manage to turn the chances into goals.”

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