NEWS
Wednesday December 20 2017
Coppa: Dybala inspires Juventus

Paulo Dybala ended his goal drought and provided an assist for Gonzalo Higuain, as Juventus pushed Genoa aside to set up a Coppa Italia clash with Torino.

The winners of this tie go on to face Torino in the quarter-final on January 3, after the Granata surprisingly eliminated Roma 2-1 tonight.

After he was dropped for two consecutive games, Dybala returned to the starting XI in a new False 9 role, flanked by Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa in a 4-3-3 formation. Gigi Buffon, Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado were out injured, with Giorgio Chiellini not fully fit. The Grifone completely revamped their line-up in Turin.

A Bernardeschi cross-shot flashed just past the far post, then the ex-Fiorentina man went on a strong run to set up Douglas Costa, but Eugenio Lamanna got down to fingertip the angled drive off target.

Bernardeschi was dangerous again, hitting the side-netting, while Claudio Marchisio ran into space, juggled and hit the half-volley over.

Douglas Costa surged forward on the counter, his pull-back scuffed wide by Dybala from eight yards, then Bernardeschi’s spectacular free kick was palmed out from under the bar by an acrobatic Lamanna save.

Juve did break through with Dybala, who controlled on the edge of the box with a delightful turn to get away from defenders, immediately drilling into the near bottom corner.

There was almost a bizarre second, as Marchisio’s extremely wayward effort turned into an assist for Stefano Sturaro and Lamanna smothered.

Centurion should’ve equalised on 52 minutes when Andrea Barzagli’s rare howler of a back-pass was intercepted, but the finish was just wide from close range.

Moments later, Rodrigo Bentancur fired off target, but Genoa threatened too with Wojciech Szczesny’s fingertip save on a rising Andrej Galabinov strike.

Galabinov went close again with a curler from distance that skimmed the upright, but Stefano Sturaro was sent clear on goal only to roll it across with a weak intercepted pass rather than go for it.

Substitute Gonzalo Higuain eventually doubled their lead on a Dybala assist, bursting between two defenders to blast into the far bottom corner from just inside the penalty area.

Genoa introduced Giuseppe Rossi for his debut, marking the end of his latest injury nightmare, and his shot from distance wasn’t too far over.

The referee pointed to the spot when Kwadwo Asamoah lost possession foolishly inside his own area and took down Pietro Pellegri. However, with Rossi waiting to take the penalty, Maresca went to view VAR and changed his mind.

Juventus 2-0 Genoa

Dybala 42 (J), Higuain 76 (J)

Juventus: Szczesny; Lichtsteiner (Chiellini 73), Barzagli, Rugani, Asamoah; Marchisio, Bentancur, Sturaro; Douglas Costa (Higuain 61), Dybala, Bernardeschi (Matuidi 85)

Genoa: Lamanna; Biraschi, Rossettini, Gentiletti; Lazovic (Ricci 61), Omeonga, Cofie, Brlek; Laxalt, Centurion (Pellegri 72), Galabinov (Rossi 77)

Ref: Maresca

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