Saturday August 13 2016
Dybala lets Juve hold Espanyol

Paulo Dybala is already on sparkling form, but Juventus only scraped a 2-2 friendly draw with 10-man Espanyol on Gonzalo Higuain’s first start.

The Bianconeri played their last friendly before the Serie A season begins next weekend and gave Higuain his first start, curiously alongside Mario Mandzukic rather than Dybala.

Roberto Pereyra is wanted by Watford, but started in the trequartista role and almost scored early doors with a right-foot curler.

Jose Antonio Reyes went off injured, but Espanyol took the lead with a well-taken goal from Leo Baptistao. He smartly cut back on to his left foot past Andrea Barzagli to fire low into the near bottom corner from 12 yards.

The Spaniards were forced to make another substitution before the break, as Hernan Perez suffered a nasty cut to the forehead after an accidental collision with teammate Pablo Piatti.

Higuain had a couple of first half chances, but scuffed his finishes and was still visibly out of shape.

Straight after the restart with Juve moving to a four-man defence, Dybala’s strike cannoned off the crossbar and as the move continued a Mandzukic diving header hit the far post.

Dybala was playing in a new role behind strikers Higuain and Mandzukic, which certainly seemed to pay off.

Juventus got their equaliser when Kwadwo Asamoah ran on to a Dybala ball over the top and rolled it across for the Mandzukic tap-in.

A fierce Mandzukic effort from distance was saved, but rarely for a friendly, Espanyol went down to 10 men for Victor Sanchez’s second bookable offence on Dybala.

La Joya repeatedly got opposition players booked, as he was very difficult to stop otherwise.

However, Espanyol restored their advantage late on when Alex Sandro was caught out, as Norberto Neto did all he could on the original Felipe Caicedo angled drive, but couldn’t keep out the Gerard Moreno follow-up.

Dybala was on stunning form and got Juve back on level terms in stoppages, curling a left-foot scorcher into the far top corner.

Juventus 2-2 Espanyol

Baptistao 35 (E), Mandzukic 54 (J), Moreno 85 (E), Dybala 90 (J)

Juventus: Buffon (Neto 55); Barzagli (Alex Sandro 46), Benatia (Bonucci 46), Chiellini (Rugani 60); Dani Alves (Lichtsteiner 46), Lemina, Pjanic, Asamoah (Hernanes 73); Pereyra (Dybala 46); Mandzukic (Pjaca 60), Higuain

Espanyol: Roberto; Javi López, O Álvaro, Ruben Duarte, Oscar Duarte; Hernán (Jurado 43), Diop, Víctor Sanchez, Piatti (Sevilla 64); Baptistao (Calcedo 65), Reyes (Moreno 27)

Sent off: Victor Sanchez 77 (E)

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