Cristiano Ronaldo led Juventus FC to a 3-0 victory at home against bottom dwellers Crotone in the Serie A on Monday. The win brings them back up to third place, but still some distance behind both AC Milan and leaders Inter.

Ronaldo scored two brilliant headers against Crotone, with the defending champions dominating the match from a slow start. The Portuguese star's breakthrough came in the 38th minute off a cross from Alex Sandro.

He completed his brace with another rocketing header in the closing minutes of the first half, bringing Juve up 2-0 going into the break. Ronaldo brings his Serie A goal tally up to 18, as he leapfrogs Inter's top scorer, Romelu Lukaku.

Weston McKennie scored the third goal for Juventus in the 66th minute, with the 36-year-old Ronaldo failing to string together a hat-trick.

The victory brings Juventus back on track, after managing to secure only their first win in four matches in all competitions. They are now back in the title race after sitting way back in sixth place..

The Old Lady now has 45 points, still eight points adrift of leaders Inter Milan (53 points) but with a game in hand. It's a large gap, but there is still a realistic hope of catching up. AC Milan fell 4 points behind Inter with 49 points after losing their derby on Sunday.

In the post match interview, Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo said, "The desire we have to return to the top makes me feel comfortable. The attitude of the players also pleases me. When we have more players free from injury I will have more choice and this also makes me feel comfortable."

Pirlo also acknowledged that they will have to take the fight to Inter if they wish to defend their league title. The club is gunning for a record-extending 10th league title in a row, and it would be a shame to miss out this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 18 goals for Juventus in Serie A this season AFP / Marco BERTORELLO