Juventus broke away six points clear of Napoli, as Douglas Costa came off the bench and provided a hat-trick of assists to beat Sampdoria 3-0.
The Bianconeri were fresh from Wednesday’s painful Champions League exit to Real Madrid, decided by a controversial last-gasp penalty when 30 seconds away from forcing extra time at 3-0. However, there was good news from Napoli earlier this evening, held 0-0 at Milan. Federico Bernardeschi and Mattia De Sciglio were injured and Max Allegri rotated the squad, giving Benedikt Howedes only his second start. Samp missed Bartosz Bereszynski and Nicola Murru.
Juan Cuadrado whipped a ball across the face of goal that Mario Mandzukic just failed to connect with, but the first save on 21 minutes was from Gigi Buffon, denying a Fabio Quagliarella header at the back post from a corner.
Emiliano Viviano pushed away a Mandzukic cross-shot, but Sami Khedira’s attempt from distance was too predictable, while Lucas Torreira curled a free kick over.
Miralem Pjanic went off injured just before the break, so Douglas Costa came on to revamp the system. Within a minute of coming off the bench, Douglas Costa made an immediate impact, whipping in a cross from the right for Mandzukic to peel away from his marker and smash a volley under the bar with the underside of his right boot.
Dawid Kownacki came off the bench and he too almost created a goal within 60 seconds, catching Giorgio Chiellini in possession, but Gaston Ramirez fired inches wide with only Buffon to beat.
Douglas Costa was the assist man again, as he floated a delicate cross from the left for a diving Benedikt Howedes header, a fine way to mark only the German’s second appearance in the Juventus jersey.
The Brazilian completed his remarkable hat-trick of assists, dribbling down the right to pull back from the by-line for Sami Khedira to sweep home. Remarkably, all three goalscorers – and of course Douglas Costa – had experience in the Bundesliga. It was also the first time since 1993 that two Germans scored in a single Juventus game, though at the time it was Jurgen Kohler and Andy Moller.
Viviano beat away a Cuadrado snapshot and Douglas Costa was inches away from getting his own goal with an angled drive.
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