Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning long-range strike helped defending Champions Juventus beat Genoa 3-1 as the Italian giants maintained their four-point advantage on top of Serie A.

After a goalless first half, Paulo Dybala opened the scoring with five minutes after the half-hour break by evading three defenders before firing in a low shot that Mattia Perin could only get a weak hand on.

Seven minutes later, it was Ronaldo’s turn. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner gathered a pass near midfield, charged towards the goal, and unleashed a blistering effort from 22 yards into the top corner past the outstretched  Genoa goalkeeper, Perin.

The 56th-minute goal from Ronaldo marked his first in an open play of the restart after converting penalties in his previous two matches. The goal raised his total to 24 in 25 Serie A matches this season.

Ronaldo’s effort came on the day his great rival Lionel Mess joined him in the 700-goal club with a chipped penalty in Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo has 726 goals with Messi now on 700.

The strike also means Ronaldo is one goal away from becoming the first Juventus player to reach the 25-goal mark since Omar Sivori in 1960/61.

Not to be outdone, substitute Douglas Costa made it 3-0 by curling in a shot from beyond the area inside the far post as Genoa’s defense looked on helplessly.

Andrea Pinamonti thereafter pulled one back for Genoa from a tight angle.

Juventus now have 72 points, four more than second-placed Lazio who beat Torino 2-0 earlier on Tuesday.