Monday, December 17, 2018

Juventus 2 Genoa 0: Dybala & Higuain secure Coppa Italia quarter-final spot

SoccerNews in Serie A 20 Dec 2017

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Juventus booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia with a 2-0 win over Genoa thanks to goals from Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain

Dybala was back in the team for the visit of Genoa and opened the scoring towards the end of the first half as he curled a low shot past goalkeeper Eugenio Lamanna.

Juventus dominated the first half but it was a different story as Genoa responded after the break and had chances to equalise.

A mistake from Andrea Barzagli almost proved costly before striker Andrey Galabinov twice went close to levelling.

Massimiliano Allegri cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as his much-changed team laboured at times in the second half, until Higuain made the game safe on 76 minutes.

The striker struck low, after good work from Dybala, to secure the win in what was a tougher game than the hosts may have expected, against a team struggling at the foot of the Serie A table.

Allegri made eight changes to his starting line-up but still had plenty of quality on show with Federico Bernardeschi back in the team and at the heart of the hosts’ best attacking moves in the opening 45 minutes.

The Italian set up Douglas Costa for Juve’s first effort on goal after 24 minutes, bu
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t the Brazilian’s shot was parried to safety by goalkeeper Lamanna.

The Juventus threat increased as the half wore on and Genoa were warned again when Claudio Marchisio latched onto a cross before turning and firing over the bar.

Dybala then hit a shot wide on 38 minutes before Lamanna did well to touch a Bernardeschi free-kick onto the bar and out for a corner.

However, Juventus were not to be denied and Dybala finally broke through with just three minutes of normal time remaining in the first half, curling a low, left-footed shot past Lamanna.

Genoa had a glorious chance to equalise shortly after the break as a poor pass from Barzagli allowed Ricardo Centurion to latch onto the ball, but he could not quite get his shot away and could only run the ball out of play.

Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was then called into action for the first time of the evening, touching a fierce strike from Galabinov over the bar.

With an hour gone, Allegri sent on Higuain for Costa but still Genoa threatened, Galabinov shooting fractionally wide of the post as the game started to open up.

Unsurprisingly Giorgio Chiellini also came on as a substitute, in a bid to strengthen the home defence and add some authority to a backline that was being tested by a Genoa side with little to lose.

Juventus then showed the difference in quality late on to secure the win, as Dybala slid in a pass to Higuain who finished expertly to double Juve’s lead.

The hosts then survived a late scare as Genoa were awarded a penalty, after Kwadwo Asamoah tangled with Pietro Pellegri in the penalty area, only for referee Fabio Maresca to reverse the decision after consulting with the VAR.

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