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Dybala, Mertens net hat-tricks as Juve, Napoli maintain perfect records

Dybala, Mertens net hat-tricks as Juve, Napoli maintain perfect records

MILAN: Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored three outstanding goals to notch his second league hat-trick of the season and lead the champions to a 3-1 win at Sassuolo on Sunday, as they bounced back from their midweek mauling by Barcelona.

The Argentine, known as ‘The Jewel’, celebrated his 100th game for the Turin side in style with one stunning effort from long-range and another from a seemingly impossible position where he was surrounded by four Sassuolo defenders.

Dries Mertens also grabbed a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Napoli thrashed hapless Serie A newcomers Benevento 6-0, scoring four times in the first 32 minutes.

Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic scored his first two goals for AC Milan in a 2-1 win over Udinese, as both sides had a goal chalked off after consultations with the video assistant referee (VAR).

Juve, humbled 3-0 by Barcelona on Tuesday, maintained their perfect start in Serie A with 12 points from four games, alongside Inter Milan and Napoli.

Dybala netted his 50th goal for Juve in the 16th minute with a first-time shot into the top right corner from 25 yards after Mario Mandzukic rolled the ball across from the left.

For his second, shortly after halftime, Dybala gathered the ball from Juan Cuadrado, jinked to the left of a defender and slotted into the bottom right corner.

Matteo Politano got Sassuolo back into the game minutes later but Dybala completed his hat-trick shortly after the hour, curling in a magnificent free kick.

“I wanted to score one and three came along,” said Dybala. “The team gives me confidence and I also compliment the coach who gives me the freedom to play where I want.”

Napoli took their league tally to 15 goals in four games with their demolition of Benevento and recover from their surprise defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League midweek.

Allan, Lorenzo Insigne, Mertens, with an acrobatic effort, and Jose Callejon were all on target in the first half, before the Belgian converted two penalties after half-time to complete the rout.

“We know that we can hurt our opponents, even if they have studied the way we play, against Shakhtar we didn’t play as we know how to,” Mertens said. “The season is long. Inter and Juve are doing well, we’ll see what happens.”

Kalinic was denied a hat-trick on review as Milan beat Udinese to bounce back from last weekend’s 4-1 mauling by Lazio. He thought he had scored a third goal eight minutes from time but it was ruled out for offside after a video review.

Udinese’s Kevin Lasagna also saw a goal disallowed for offside using video technology, before he got one back for the visitors. Milan are fourth with nine points.

Torino and Sampdoria drew 2-2, all the goals coming in the first half, while Cagliari won 2-0 at SPAL and AS Roma eased past Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2017

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