Dybala at the double!

Dybala at the double!
Dybala at the double!
Dybala at the double!

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.

One soon became two immediately after the restart, the Argentine sending Karnezis the wrong way from the penalty spot to hand Juve the upper hand for the first time on the night after Alex Sandro had been tripped by Rodrigo De Paul in the corner of the box.

More attacking adventure from Alex Sandro, deployed as a left winger for the majority of the game, ought to have yielded a third on the hour mark but the Brazilian could only head Stephan Lichtsteiner’s superb cross wide with the goal gaping.

Better execution of the final pass may have seen Juve out of sight before Buffon was twice called into action in the closing stages as Udinese pushed hard for an equaliser but Allegri’s charges stood firm under pressure to send their supporters home happy.

Next up, the small matter of a Champions League trip to Lyon.

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