MILAN: A Paulo Dybala brace kept Juventus’s title push on track with a 3-0 win over Lazio to bring them within striking distance of emulating their 1935 feat of claiming five consecutive Serie A titles.
The Old Lady can win the league if they beat Fiorentina on Sunday and Napoli lose at Roma a day later.
But coach Massimiliano Allegri is taking nothing for granted. “We need four points so we need one win and a draw. We still have four games left, two of which are at home, but all we’re thinking of is Sunday’s game,” he said. “We’re going to Florence and that will be complicated because there’s a big rivalry between the sides.”
Serie A: Inter dent Napoli scudetto hopes to keep Champions League dream alive
After Mario Mandzukic put Juventus in front six minutes before the interval, the Croatia striker turning Paul Pogba’s pacy drive into the net, Juventus moved up a gear against Simone Inzaghi’s visitors. Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi had warned of Juve’s ‘invincibility’ and once the visitors lost right-back Patric for a second bookable offence, the writing was on the wall.
From the free-kick, Brazilian midfielder Hernanes forced Federico Marchetti into action but the Lazio keeper could do nothing minutes later when Dybala sent him the wrong way from the spot after Leonardo Bonucci was hauled down in the area.
Dybala completed his brace with his 16th league goal of the campaign, the Argentine collecting Sami Khedira’s ball to beat Marchetti from distance just after the hour.
Juve’s 26th win of the season maintained their nine-point lead on Napoli with four games remaining.
Juve sight scudetto record as Roma rout Lazio
Totti steals the show
Third-placed Roma were trailing 2-1 with four minutes remaining after Josef Martinez had added to Andrea Belotti’s first half penalty in the 80th minute for visiting Torino before club legend Francesco Totti decided to intervene.
Seconds after replacing Seydou Keita with less than five minutes to go, Totti slid in at the back post to meet Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick and guide the ball past Daniele Padelli.
Three minutes later Roma won a controversial penalty for handball in the area, and although Padelli got a touch on Totti’s drive, it was not enough.
The ageing captain was mobbed by the bench and fans were seen crying in the stands as Roma kept the pressure on Napoli with five points separating the two.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but it was like the ending of an epic film,” Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi told Premium Sport.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.
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