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Dybala double inspires Juve to 10th straight win

Dybala double inspires Juve to 10th straight win

MILAN: Paulo Dybala hit a brace and Alex Sandro struck his maiden Juventus goal in a 4-0 rout away to Udinese that closed the gap on Serie A leaders Napoli to two points on Sunday.

Napoli, who are gunning for a first title in 26 years, went top of the pile on Saturday thanks to a 3-1 win over Sassuolo when striker Gonzalo Higuain took his tally to 20 goals in 20 games.

But Juve stayed well in the hunt with a comprehensive win at the Friuli Stadium that gave Massimiliano Allegri’s defending champions their 10th consecutive league win, moving them to 42 points.

Inter Milan, who drew 1-1 at Atalanta on Saturday, are two points further back and Roberto Mancini’s men could drop to fourth later on Sunday if Fiorentina, at two points behind, account for AC Milan at the San Siro.

Luciano Spalletti’s second spell in charge of AS Roma began in dubious fashion with a 1-1 draw at home to winless bottom side Hellas Verona.

Radja Nainggolan gave Roma the lead four minutes before halftime only for Giampaolo Pazzini to equalise with a 61st minute penalty for a Verona, who are still winless after 20 games of the season and have taken only nine points.

Roma, who fired coach Rudi Garcia on Wednesday and named Spalletti as his replacement the following day, are fifth with 35 points and losing touch with the leaders.

Elsewere, Lazio fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Bologna after home defender Adam Masina was sent off, while relegation-threatened Carpi beat Sampdoria 2-1 for a second successive win.

Chievo Verona drew 1-1 against Empoli and Genoa beat 10-man Palermo 4-0 in the lunchtime kickoff.

Juve’s goals all came in a devastating first-half spell when Argentine forward Dybala scored twice, including a 25th-minute penalty after Udinese defender Danilo was sent off for bringing down Mario Mandzukic, while Sami Khedira and Sandro notched the others.

Dybala broke the deadlock on the quarter hour with a superb free kick that sailed over the defensive wall and left Orestis Karnezis rooted to the spot.

Udinese have been celebrating the opening of their stadium after recent refurbishment, but it was to get worse for Stefano Colantuono’s hosts.

Sami Khedira pounced on some calamitous defending to nod a loose ball into the net at the far post just three minutes later.

Any hope Udinese had of rescuing something from the match evaporated in the 25th. Stephan Lichtsteiner sent Mandzukic clear and he was brought down by Danilo, who was duly sent off. Dybala converted for his 11th goal of the season.

Sandro netted his first in Serie A three minutes from halftime, firing into the far corner from the edge of the area to complete the embarrassing rout.

Udinese almost got a consolation in the second half but Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finger-tipped Francesco Lodi’s free kick onto the post.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2016

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