07.04.2018 17:16 - in: Match report S

    Dybala hat-trick downs Benevento

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    Three goals by La Joya and a stunning Douglas Costa strike seal a 4-2 victory for Juventus away to Benevento

    The Bianconeri gave their Scudetto bid an important boost on Saturday afternoon by beating Benevento 4-2 in Campania.

    Paulo Dybala turned hat-trick hero at the Stadio Ciro Vigorito by three times handing Juve the lead, while Cheick Diabaté twice scored equalisers for the spirited hosts. Douglas Costa put the victory beyond doubt with an eye-catching strike late on.

    Following a bright start by the visitors in which Mario Mandzukic flashed a header wide and the Bianconeri generally bossed possession in the opposition half, Juve found the breakthrough after 16 minutes when Dybala bent a brilliant effort into the top corner.

    It capped off a wonderful team move in which Alex Sandro spread the play out to Juan Cuadrado on the right side and the Colombian knocked the ball down for Dybala, who opened up his body to arrow a trademark, left-footed shot past a helpless Christian Puggioni.

    However, eight minutes were all it took for Benevento to equalise: Wojciech Szczesny initially made a stunning save low to his right to deny Filip Djuricic, but Guilherme kept the move alive with a follow-up cross which Diabaté, stood right on the goal-line, simply could not miss.

    Juve probably should have re-established their lead on 33 minutes, when Cuadrado dragged wide when one-on-one with Puggioni, before Mandzukic flicked a shot of his own into the net, only to see it disallowed for a seemingly accidental handball, for which the Croatian was subsequently booked.

    On the stroke of half-time, however, the visitors won a penalty when Miralem Pjanic was felled in the area and Dybala kept his cool from the spot to register his 50th Serie A goal for Juventus and ensure his team took a deserved one-goal advantage into the break.

    Benevento fought back at the start of the second period and drew level once again in the 51st minute when Diabaté rose highest at a corner to head powerfully past Szczesny.

    Juve replied with plenty of possession and a couple of half-chances – Claudio Marchisio curled over the crossbar and Pjanic pulled a free-kick a couple of feet wide – but Benevento continued to threaten on the counter-attack.

    With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, Dybala restored the Bianconeri’s lead from the penalty spot after Gonzalo Higuain was brought down in the box. This was La Joya’s third hat-trick of the campaign – all of which away from home – and arguably his most important to date.

    On 82 minutes, the points were finally made safe thanks to an exceptional strike by Douglas Costa. The Brazilian cut in from the right byline and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed shot high into the top corner – a certain contender for April’s goal of the month award.

    Juve’s win opens up a seven-point lead at the top of the table before Napoli host Chievo on Sunday. The Bianconeri will now turn attentions to Wednesday’s Champions League return leg against Real Madrid before next Sunday’s Serie A fixture against Sampdoria at Allianz Stadium.

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