02.10.2016 14:34 - in: Match report S

    Second-half show stuns Empoli

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    Gonzalo Higuain’s brace and Paulo Dybala’s first league goal of the season between minutes 60 and 65 the difference at Empoli’s Stadio Carlo Castellani

    Three goals in the space of five second-half minutes at Empoli’s Stadio Carlo Castellani handed Juventus a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions, the champions running out comfortable 3-0 winners on Sunday afternoon.

    Both scorers in the week, strike partners Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala would repeat the trick in Tuscany, the former netting his second and third goals of the week, the latter his first in Serie A this season.

    As had been the case in Zagreb on Tuesday night in the Champions League, Juventus began with intent and could and perhaps should have taken the lead much earlier than they eventually did inside 10 minutes, Sami Khedira volleying Miralem Pjanic’s superb lofted through pass onto the crossbar with the Empoli defence looking eagerly for an offside flag.

    For all of the away side’s dominance however, other clear-cut scoring opportunities remained at a premium until ten minutes before half-time. Pjanic, impressive throughout the first period, split the home ranks in two again to release Juan Cuadrado down the right who could only shoot at Skorupski with the goal gaping.

    With the interval beckoning, Cuadrado would go close once more lashing a volley over the crossbar from the corner of the six-yard box after Gonzalo Higuain’s delicate chip had been headed off the line.

    The second half began much in the same vein with Massimiliano Allegri’s men continuing to control proceedings and exert greater pressure on the Azzurri backline. This time however, Juve made their dominance count, Dybala firing past Skorupski on 65 minutes, moments after the Pole had excellently denied Higuain from point-blank range, to hand his side a deserved lead.

    Dybala’s compatriot and strike partner was on the scoresheet himself two minutes later, powering into the bottom corner with his left foot when left unchallenged 20 yards from goal for his sixth goal of the campaign.

    In the blink of an eye the contest was then closed down for good, Higuain capitalising on a defensive error to dance around Skorupski and poke into an empty net, rounding off a thrilling five-minute, three-goal spell for the Bianconeri.

    Allegri’s charges might have even added a fourth late on were it not for the last of a string of fine stops from the home goalkeeper, whose flying save denied Marko Pjaca a first Juventus goal to go with another eye-catching cameo from the substitutes’ bench moments from the full-time whistle.

    The result guarantees the Old Lady enter the impending international break top of the table and rounds off a more than satisfactory seven days for the reigning champions. Next up are Udinese at Juventus Stadium on 16 October.

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