A free-kick and a penalty from the left boot of Paulo Dybala, the Argentine’s second and third goals of the league season, were enough to seal a valuable 2-1 win for Juventus over Udinese on Saturday night, their 20th on the spin at home in Serie A.
Behind early on to Jakub Jankto’s skidding long-range effort, Dybala struck twice either side of half-time to send the Bianconeri five points clear at the top of the table following Napoli’s 3-1 defeat to Roma earlier in the day.
While it would be the hosts who crafted the game’s first sight of goal, La Joya flashing a shot into the side netting, it would be the visitors that enjoyed the better of the opening quarter of an hour at Juventus Stadium, Sven Kums twice testing Gianluigi Buffon from set-pieces.
Mario Mandzukic twice might have done better from good positions, glancing a header past the far post before scooping over the bar midway through the first period with goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis on the ground following Dybala’s blocked shot.
Massimiliano Allegri’s men were made to pay for their profligacy a matter of seconds later, Jankto firing under Buffon from the edge of the box to hand the away side a surprise lead on 30 minutes.
A sold out Juventus Stadium would have to wait for the first half’s standout moment, however, and were more than rewarded for their patience. After a lengthy interruption, Dybala stepped up to curl an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner, his second strike in as many matches, to haul the Bianconeri back into contention on the brink of the interval.