Juventus
    24.02.2016 17:30 - in: Champions League S

    Dybala determined to reach UCL quarters

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    Paulo Dybala points out how the Bianconeri can progress to the Champions League quarter-finals against Bayern Munich

    On a personal level, Paulo Dybala’s maiden Champions League goal was the just reward following a brilliant first six months in the black and white of Juventus, but just how it came about and the impact it would have on the outcome of Tuesday’s last 16 first leg draw with Bayern Munich added extra significance to the 63rd-minute strike.

    Having let the dust settle overnight after the engrossing encounter at Juventus Stadium, the 22-year-old stressed his satisfaction in contributing to a creditable result, one which he admitted he and his team-mates achieved well and truly in tandem with the backing of a vociferous home support.

    “It was a great feeling to score for the first time in the Champions League. I’d been looking to get this goal for a while. Obviously there wasn’t much time to celebrate as we had to equalise!

    “Ultimately, I’m happy because it was important for the team and the fans. We rolled up our sleeves and fought back as one.”

    Looking ahead to the second leg in Bavaria, Dybala had few doubts that the key to sealing a quarter-final spot in the competition lay in replicating all of the good things they did towards the end of yesterday’s contest.

    “We can get the result we want in Munich if we play with the desire and determination that we demonstrated during the final half-hour yesterday and also with the right level of humility.

    “We can’t afford to sit back too much. As we’ve seen in the Bundesliga, when Bayern play against sides who are penned in their own half, they’re capable of scoring two or three goals.”

    “I’m enjoying playing just behind the main striker, as it allows me to move across the park with greater freedom and to score goals.”

    Paulo Dybala 24/02/2016

    Before that appetising match-up on 16 March, the Bianconeri have the small matter of hosting Roberto Mancini’s Inter in the league, with the main priority that of keeping the chasing pack, led by second-placed Napoli, at arm’s length.

    Sunday’s opponents also have a dangerous frontman among their ranks in Mauro Icardi, a compatriot of Dybala, who has two league goals fewer to his name than La Joya in 2015/16.

    Asked about comparisons drawn between him and Icardi, who is one year his senior, Dybala replied: “We can’t really be put in the same bracket, as he is an out and out centre-forward, while I’m more of a second striker. Mauro is playing well and I hope that one day we can play together for the national team.”

    With regard to his current role within Massimiliano Allegri’s setup, La Joya purred: “I’m enjoying playing just behind the main striker, as it allows me to move across the park with greater freedom and to score goals.”

    Indeed, he has netted 17 times in all competitions so far this term, a brilliant return for his debut campaign in the black and white half of Turin and one which has led to comparisons with the legendary Bianconeri forward, Omar Sivori, to whom Dybala paid tribute at the end of the interview.

    “It’s a source of great pride that they liken me to him here at Juventus. He was a true champion of the sport.”

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