Ju­ven­tus’ Dy­bala, Higuain on tar­get in com­fort­able vic­tory for league lead­ers

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Paulo Dy­bala scored his first league goal of the sea­son and his strik­ing part­ner Gonzalo Higuain added two more to give Serie A lead­ers Ju­ven­tus a 3-0 win at strug­gling Em­poli yes­ter­day.

Ju­ven­tus took more than one hour to break down their stub­born op­po­nents, then scored three times in six min­utes to claim their sixth win in seven Serie A matches this sea­son.

The ti­tle­hold­ers sur­vived a few wor­ry­ing mo­ments be­fore Dy­bala put them ahead in the 65th minute, lash­ing a left-foot shot into the roof of the net from Alex San­dro's pass af­ter find­ing space be­tween two de­fend­ers.

Fel­low Ar­gen­tine Higuain quickly dou­bled their lead two min­utes later, pow­er­ing for­ward as the Em­poli de­fence re­treated and driv­ing home a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Em­poli gifted Juve the third in the 70th minute when Marco Zam­belli's dread­ful back pass was in­ter­cepted by Higuain who rounded Lukasz Sko­rup­ski to notch his sixth league goal of the sea­son.

Napoli crum­ble at Ata­lanta

Rel­e­ga­tion battlers Ata­lanta earned a shock vic­tory over Napoli, in­flict­ing the first com­pet­i­tive de­feat of the sea­son.

An early Lorenzo in­signe free kick whis­tled just wide of the near post, bur af­ter eight min­utes of con­stant pres­sure, Napoli went be­hind in Berg­amo.

Papu Gomez’s cross from the left was over Kali­dou Koulibaly and ric­o­cheted off Faouzi Ghoulam’s face for Pe­tagna to fire in on the half-vol­ley at the near stick.

Gomez con­tin­ued to wreak havoc down that left flank, hav­ing a shot charged down and al­most set­ting up Pe­tagna again, but at the other end Jose Calle­jon’s an­gled drive was beaten away by Etrit Ber­isha fol­low­ing a Boukary Drame slip. Ata­lanta's An­drea Pe­tagna cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing against Napoli yes­ter­day Photo: AP

Pe­tagna al­most com­pleted his brace with a header off tar­get from yet an­other Gomez cross down the left. Arek Mi­lik did get a great chance be­fore half-time, but Ber­isha got down very quickly to palm his low vol­ley off the line.

Mau­r­izio Sarri threw on Manolo Gab­bia­dini for what was es­sen­tially a 4-2-4 for­ma­tion. It was wide open, as Gab­bia­dini’s hook at the back post was prac­ti­cally cleared off the line, spark­ing a counter that saw Al­berto Grassi fire straight at Reina.

Koulibaly nod­ded over late on, but Napoli were sim­ply too tooth­less to turn this around.

Mi­lan-Sas­suolo in se­v­en­goal thriller

Mi­lan com­pleted an in­cred­i­ble come­back from 3-1 down to beat Sas­suolo 4-3 in the space of 20 min­utes in this San Siro thriller.

Mi­lan took the lead when Jack Bon­aven­tura’s snap­shot took a huge de­flec­tion off Francesco Acerbi to leave An­drea Con­sigli wrong-footed.

How­ever, it lasted only a minute, as Ig­nazio Abate on his come­back passed straight to Mat­teo Poli­tano, who kept his cool to draw out Gianluigi Don­narumma and slide his fin­ish into the empty net.

Ad­japong thought he’d scored his first Serie A goal on 22 min­utes, but it was cor­rectly dis­al­lowed for hand­ball dur­ing a clumsy div­ing header at the back post.

Pol Lirola’s dan­ger­ous low cross for Gre­goire De­frel was cru­cially in­ter­cepted by Gus­tavo Gomez. Don­narumma was caught in pos­ses­sion by Poli­tano and the goal­keeper ran a big risk, us­ing his strength to nudge him off the ball in a very risky move in­deed. Poli­tano saw penalty ap­peals waved away.

Car­los Bacca blasted wide and Luiz Adri­ano got his head to an Abate cross when Bon­aven­tura in a bet­ter po­si­tion was ab­so­lutely fu­ri­ous.

Vin­cenzo Mon­tella walked back his ex­per­i­ment, in­tro­duc­ing Niang for Luiz Adri­ano, but was sent off for dis­sent at half-time.

Con­sigli got down to beat away a Suso curler, but Sas­suolo did turn the game around com­pletely on a set play sit­u­a­tion. Lorenzo Pel­le­grini dinked it to the back post for Acerbi, who had time and space to turn in undis­turbed.

Mo­ments later it was 3-1 to the Neroverdi, as Pel­le­grini com­pleted a give-and-go to en­ter the box, shim­mied past Gus­tavo Gomez and placed a cool fin­ish into the far bot­tom cor­ner.

Niang ran be­tween two de­fend­ers into the area and fell, the ref­eree point­ing to the spot, but the Mi­lan striker was pulling Lirola’s shirt and there didn’t seem to be much con­tact from Luca An­tei ei­ther. None­the­less, Bacca con­verted to put the hosts back in the match.

It proved a de­ci­sive mo­ment, be­cause Mi­lan got it on to 3-3 with a stun­ner of a de­but Serie A goal from Manuel Lo­catelli. The 18year-old sub­sti­tute was on the edge of the box to gather a cleared cor­ner and ab­so­lutely blast it into the top cor­ner. He cel­e­brated with his head in his hands, his face clearly show­ing he couldn’t be­lieve this was hap­pen­ing.

It still wasn’t over, as the Ros­soneri man­aged to re­store their lead from 3-1 down to 4-3 in just 20 min­utes. Niang was in­volved again, his cross met by a tow­er­ing Gabriel Paletta header into the far bot­tom cor­ner.

Yes­ter­day Em­poli-Ju­ven­tus ............................ 0-3 Dya­bala 65’, Higuain 67’, 70’ Ata­lanta-Napoli ............................. 1-0 Pe­tagna 9’ Bologna-Genoa ............................. 0-1 Sime­one 77’ Cagliari-Cro­tone ............................. 2-1 Di Gen­naro 38’ (Cag), Padoin 56’ (Cag), Stoian 90+1’ (Cro) Sam­p­do­ria-Palermo ...................... 1-1 Nestorovski 60’ (P), Fer­nan­des 90+5’ (S) AC Mi­lan-Sas­suolo ......................... 4-3 Bon­aven­tura 9’ (M), Poli­tano 10’ (S), Acerbi 54’ (S), Pel­le­grini 56’ (S), Bacca 68’ pen (M), Lo­catelli 73’ (M), Paletta 77’ (M) Torino-Fiorentina ........................... 2-1 Falque 15’ (T), Be­nassi 60’ (T), Babacar 84’ (F) AS Roma-In­ter ............................... 2-1 Dzeko 5’ (R), Banega 72’ (I), Manolas 76’ (R)

Standings

Ju­ven­tus Napoli AS Roma Lazio Chievo AC Mi­lan Genoa Torino In­ter Cagliari Bologna Ata­lanta Sas­suolo Fiorentina Sam­p­do­ria Udi­nese Pescara Palermo Em­poli Cro­tone

Serie B 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3 3 1 1 1 15 4 18 1 14 6 14 2 16 9 13 2 13 7 13 2 9 6 13 2 12 10 13 1 8 5 11 2 13 8 11 2 9 8 11 3 11 13 10 3 811 10 4 10 12 9 4 9 12 9 2 6 6 8 4 7 10 7 4 6 12 7 3 7 10 6 3 4 8 6 5 2 11 4 6 5 16 1

Yes­ter­day Ce­sena-Latina .................................. 2-2 As­coli-Spezia .................................... 0-2 To­day Carpi-Pisa

Lega Pro A

Yes­ter­day Arezzo-Pro Pi­a­cenza ........................ 1-0 Como-Rac­ing Roma ......................... 2-1 Giana Er­minio-Livorno .................... 2-2 Lupa Roma-Viterbese ...................... 0-1 Pi­a­cenza-Ol­bia ................................. 2-1 Siena-Pis­toiese ................................ 1-1 Re­nate-Prato ................................... 2-0 Car­rarese-Tut­tocuoio ...................... 1-1 Pont­ed­era-Luc­ch­ese ........................ 2-4 To­day Alessan­dria-Cre­monese

Lega Pro B

To­day Al­bi­noL­effe-Gub­bio

Lega Pro C

Yes­ter­day Akra­gas-Catan­zaro ........................... 0-0 Melfi-Sira­cusa .................................. 2-2 Messina-Pa­ganese ........................... 0-2 Mat­era-Fog­gia ................................. 1-1 Mo­nop­oli-Fondi ............................... 1-0 Caser­tana-An­dria ............................ 0-0 Cosenza-Vir­tus Fran­cav­illa ............... 1-0 Juve Stabia-Vi­bonese ...................... 3-0 Lecce-Reg­gina 1914 ......................... 1-0 Taranto-Cata­nia ............................... 0-0

Ju­ven­tus' Gonzalo Higuain, right, and team­mate Paulo Dy­bala cel­e­brate at the end of yes­ter­day’s match Photo: AP

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