Juventus squandered Cristiano Ronaldo's goal and were held to a 1-1 draw by Hellas Verona in their Serie A encounter on Saturday. Ronaldo scored the opening goal early in the first half, but the opponents managed to find an equaliser in the 77th minute thanks to a header from Antonin Barak.

The reigning Serie A champions have fallen six points behind Inter Milan and three points behind AC Milan. Their bid to defend their title is proving to be much harder this season, considering the fact that they are unable to take home three points against a mid-table team like Verona.

Ronaldo is still the league's top scorer with 19 goals so far this season, but it hasn't been enough to take them to the top. Juventus has been struggling away from home as of late, scoring only a total of four points from the last four away games that they have played.

Last night, Verona looked like the more dangerous side, and Juventus was lucky that they even came away with a draw after the hosts were denied by the posts on more than one occasion.

Juventus manager Andrea Pirlo knows that they missed a chance to capitalise on the lead they got from Ronaldo's goal. "When you're in front in these games you need to bring them home. We were definitely missing some experienced players. We had a lot of youngsters, so we had few players who could understand the game," he said, as quoted by ESPN.

Pirlo also admitted that he relies a lot on Ronaldo and other more senior players to help him manage the squad. Juventus had a small injury crisis leading up to the match with six players injured, forcing them to field younger inexperienced players. "I asked Cristiano and Alex Sandro to speak to them and help them understand, but unfortunately it wasn't enough," he said.

Verona did well to hold Juventus to a draw, but it may be remembered that last season, they actually won 2-1 against the eventual champions. Juve has a lot to lose this season, with a possible tenth consecutive Serie A trophy on the line. They could not afford to drop points against mid-level teams like Verona.

It remains to be seen if Ronaldo's scoring prowess will be enough to salvage the Old Lady's title defence.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 goals for Juventus in Serie A this season AFP / Marco BERTORELLO