Deadly Higuain earns Juve derby spoils
Gonzalo Higuain bagged his 19th Serie A brace as leader Juventus moved seven points ahead of Roma and AC Milan with a 3-1 derby win at Torino on Sunday.
Juve supporters had every right to be concerned about Higuain’s consistency, considering his last league goal came in a 2-1 win over Napoli in October, following his $95 million move to Turin in the summer.
But the Argentine netted in Juve’s 2-0 Champions League victory over Dinamo Zagreb in midweek and confirmed his return to form with a fine double that left England goalkeeper Joe Hart with no chance.
Visitor Juve was given a spur by late substitutes Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic, the Bosnian scoring Juve’s third in stoppage time.
“It was a great derby that we won thanks to some late changes,” said coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“Higuain was moving well and did well for us.”
Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic upped the stakes at a dramatic pre-match media conference attended by a 60-year-old fan and the club’s long-serving equipment manager at which he claimed the “whole of Torino” was set on beating its archrival.
But with only one win from the past 21 derbies – a 2-1 victory in April 2015 that ended their 20-year wait for bragging rights – the pressure was all on the host, and by the end Serbian Mihajlovic conceded to the richer, more powerful neighbor.
“We wanted to win this game and, looking at the chances we created, we should perhaps have had more,” said Mihajlovic.
“But Juve have a team that’s capable of challenging at home and in Europe, while we are trying to qualify for the Europa League.”
Roma and AC Milan, in second and third respectively, played in the capital on Monday night.
Gonzalo Higuain celebrates scoring his second goal for Juventus on Sunday.