20.12.2017 22:53 - in: Match report S

    Juve through to Coppa quarters!

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    Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain are on target as the Bianconeri book their place in the next round of the Coppa Italia against Torino

    Juventus’ Coppa Italia campaign is up and running! The Bianconeri began their defence of the cup tonight with a 2-0 victory over Genoa at Allianz Stadium.

    It was a win made in Argentina with Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain scoring the goals that ensure they reach the quarter-finals, with Torino lying in wait in an eye-catching inter-city derby to be played on 3 January.

    Back in the starting eleven for the first time in two weeks, Dybala had the look of a man on a mission from the outset: on the quarter-hour mark, La Joya wriggled past a host of defenders inside the box and pulled the trigger, only to see his shot well blocked.

    Oozing energy and intent, the Argentine forward was getting himself in all the right positions and might well have netted the opener after 39 minutes when Douglas Costa cut the ball back for him, but Juve’s number 10 was unable to steer home from six yards out.

    On 42 minutes, however, Dybala made sure of getting back among the goals with a vintage strike, left-footed and low into the bottom corner, to ensure Juventus took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

    Paulo had not been the only goal threat for the hosts over the first 45, with Costa and Federico Bernardeschi both coming close with powerful shots of their own. In short, the Bianconeri were entering the break with the very least their efforts had deserved.

    The start of the second half was relatively low key, as Rodrigo Bentancur fired whiskers wide of the post after Daniele Rugani had hooked Costa’s cross over the bar.

    Meanwhile down the other end, Andrej Galabinov forced Wojciech Szczesny into a smart fingertip save before curling powerfully around the Polish keeper’s upright – a reminder that the Rossoblu were, at this point, very much still in the game.

    On 76 minutes, however, the tie was effectively put to bed when Higuain drove with power and sheer confidence into the far corner for his 12th goal of the season.

    There was still time for some drama in the hosts’ penalty box, as referee Fabio Maresca initially awarded Genoa a spot-kick – after adjudging Kwadwo Asamoah to have fouled Pietro Pellegri in the area – only to overturn his decision after consulting VAR.

    Juve may still have extended their lead further with Higuain forcing a smart save from Eugenio Lamanna and Dybala firing a free-kick into the wall, as the Bianconeri ended the match on the front foot, while at the same time managing to maintain their seventh clean sheet in all competitions.

    Attentions now turn to Saturday’s crunch Serie A showdown against Roma at Allianz Stadium.

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