Juventus defeated AC Milan 1-0 to be crowned the champions of the 31st annual Supercoppa Italiana. The only goal in the match was scored by Juventus’ talismanic Cristiano Ronaldo at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Wednesday.

The first half was dominated by the defending Serie A champions with shots of from Douglas Costa, Blaise Matuidi and Ronaldo threatened the Milan defense. Matuidi’s shot also ended up at the back of the net in the half an hour mark but it was flagged offside.

There was a huge crowd at the stadium with up to 15,000 women among the 62,000 crowd and Italian football league president Gaetano Micciche called the match a success.

“It was a wonderful evening, a festival of sport in a full stadium,” said Micciche. “I hope that it’s the starting point for social evolution in this country.”

It was quite a drastic change for the players of both Italian clubs, as back home the temperatures were freezing, whereas in Jeddah it was 25-degree Celsius. Juventus maintained their winning momentum to seal a record eighth super cup title.

“It was very hot and the important thing was to win,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri who won the trophy for the second time, having lost to AC Milan in 2016 and Lazio last year. “Ronaldo? We always say the same thing… that’s why we signed him. He is decisive and scores big goals, but the whole team put in a good performance.”

“It was very hot and the important thing was to win,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri who won the trophy for the second time, having lost to AC Milan in 2016 and Lazio last year. “Ronaldo? We always say the same thing… that’s why we signed him. He is decisive and scores big goals, but the whole team put in a good performance.”

Milan’s Gonzola Higuain played only for the final 20 minutes of the game with uncertainty still lingering over his future amidst transfer links to Premier League club Chelsea. Head coach Gattuso clarified that Argentinean had missed the team photo because he was suffering from fever and feared the virus could be contagious.

“It might seem like a joke, but it’s true. Higuain wasn’t in the picture when the Saudi Prince came to visit because I was afraid the virus would spread among the other players, so that was my decision. “He had a fever last night, we did everything to get him better, but he didn’t play much, so I preferred a fresher player.”

AC Milan came close to equalising through a Patrick Cutrone effort but a tactitcally strong Juventus defence kept their lead in tact and saw the match through.