Paulo Dybala helped Juventus rediscover their goalscoring form with a goal and an assist in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Atalanta as Paul Pogba saw a late penalty saved.
Following consecutive goalless draws with Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach, the Serie A champions were back on target at the Juventus Stadium with Dybala making a strong case to retain his starting spot up front in an impressive display.
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri has received criticism for failing to use the 21-year-old enough this season but was rewarded for giving him a start 28 minutes in when Dybala produced a delightful strike from the edge of the area.
Atalanta had lost just once in seven league matches prior to their trip to Turin but the result was all-but sealed when Mario Mandzukic registered his first Serie A goal courtesy of clever build-up play from Pogba and Dybala.
The champions’ task was made easier by the dismissal of Rafael Toloi late on, before Dybala earned a penalty subsequently spurned by Pogba 11 minutes from time.
Dybala had further chances in the final stages as Juve marked defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini’s 300th league outing with a routine win.
Allegri brought in Roberto Pereyra and Dybala alongside Mandzukic and saw Juve start brightly.
Leonardo Bonucci glanced Dybala’s free-kick at goal – Marco Sportiello equal to it – before the Atalanta goalkeeper kept Mandzukic’s close-range effort out following a deep corner.
The visitors were without Marcelo Estigarribia and Emanuele Suagher due to injury but grew back into the game prior to the half-hour mark with Chiellini’s intervention cutting out Boukary Drame’s cross.
However, Dybala’s stunning strike gave Juve a deserved lead 17 minutes before the break as the Argentinean registered his fourth league goal of the season.
The former Palermo man sustained a knock soon after and was briefly forced off for treatment, and Pereyra was withdrawn with an injury shortly before half-time.
Sportiello’s fine save from a Dybala shot was the last action of the first period but the Atalanta stopper was picking the ball out of his net early in the second when Dybala turned provider for Mandzukic.
A delightful backheel from Pogba saw Dybala square for Mandzukic to finish from close range, opening his league account in the process, having moved from Bayern Munich in the close-season.
While Edoardo Reja’s Atalanta remained comfortable in possession they struggled to threaten as Juve grew in confidence, Dybala flashing a free-kick wide before being denied a second soon after by a smart Sportiello save.
Having been booked for a foul, Toloi was dismissed for a similar offence 17 minutes from time as Pogba’s frustrating campaign continued when his penalty was saved by Sportiello after a foul on Dybala.