Paulo Dybala led the way for Juventus with a match-winning performance in Friday’s 2-0 Serie A triumph over Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Argentina forward played a major role in the opening goal after just seven minutes as Santiago Gentiletti deflected his teasing cross into his own net.
He then capped a fine outing with a sublime goal just past the half-hour mark, beating Federico Marchetti with a superb volley from outside the area after coolly teeing himself up.
An out of sorts Lazio lacked the attacking strength to pull one back, failing to get a shot on target until the 70th minute, while Juventus seemed happy to defend their lead.
The victory was Massimiliano Allegri’s side’s fifth consecutive Serie A win as they continue to climb up the table after an underwhelming start to the season.
Lazio, meanwhile, have now gone six matches in a row without victory, losing five of them.
Antonio Candreva crafted the first chance in the fifth minute, the Italy international trying his luck from outside the area after cutting inside from the left, but his shot went just wide.
Juventus went a goal up just two minutes later after some unfortunate defending from Lazio. Mauricio failed to properly clear Alex Sandro’s cross from the left, deflecting it straight into the path of Dybala, and the former Palermo star powerfully fired it across the face of goal, with Gentiletti deflecting it into the net.
The home side looked dangerous after a corner kick from the left, with Stefan Radu beating his marker to the ball, only to see his header go harmlessly wide.
Dybala remained Juventus’ main threat in the first half and the 22-year-old doubled the visitors’ lead in spectacular fashion in the 32nd minute, collecting Mario Mandzukic’s pass, juggling the ball onto his left foot and firing beyond Marchetti.
Radu felt he should have been awarded a penalty after a challenge from Andrea Barzagli early in the second half, but referee Luca Banti was having none of it and waved play on.
Dybala could have doubled his personal tally around the hour mark, but Gentiletti did just enough to force the attacker out wide and his shot from a narrow angle went comfortably wide.
Gianluigi Buffon was tested for the first time with 20 minutes to play when Marco Parolo unleashed an opportunistic shot from 30 yards out, but the experienced goalkeeper comfortably saved the free-kick.
Allegri’s side are now just four points off the summit ahead of a return to Champions League action when they visit Sevilla on Tuesday.
Key Opta stats:
– Lazio have lost six of their last seven home meetings against Juventus in Serie A.
– Gianluigi Buffon made his 400th appearance for Juventus in the top flight.
– Paulo Dybala has had a hand in 10 Juventus league goals this season (scoring seven and providing three assists).
– Lazio have gained only one point in their last six Serie A games.