Higuain, Dybala score late to keep Juve top of Serie A
Gonzalo Higuain grabbed a second-half brace with Paulo Dybala adding a late third as Juventus rescued a 3-1 comeback win over Atalanta in the final quarter of an hour to stay top of Serie A on Saturday.
Robin Gosens had nodded Atalanta ahead after 56 minutes as the Bergamo side chased their first Serie A win over Juventus since February 2001.
But Higuain hit back with two goals in an eight-minute spell while Dybala marked his 200th Serie A appearance with the final goal two minutes into injury time.
Maurizio Sarri’s side open up a four-point lead on second-placed Inter Milan, who travel to Torino later on Saturday, as Atalanta drop to sixth place after their fourth league game without a win.
“We suffered, but in the final 20 minutes we gave everything we had to bring the game home,” said Sarri.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed the trip to their northern rivals despite his four-goal spree for Portugal as he recovers from a slight knee problem ahead of Juventus’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
In the absence of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Argentine strike duo Dybala and Higuain ensured the eight-time reigning champions maintained their unbeaten run this season despite several controversial refereeing decisions.
“I hope Cristiano will be back for the Champions League on Tuesday,” said Sarri. “We’re solving this knee problem that has been bothering him for a while.
“Playing with a hint of pain will tire you out psychologically.
“So far he has trained in the right way, so as not to overload his knee.”
Higuain had pulled Juventus level after 74 minutes with a ball that took a deflection off Rafael Toloi to beat Pierluigi Gollini in the Atalanta goal.
The Argentine completed his double when he picked up a cross from Juan Cuadrado on 82 where the Colombian put his hand on the ball during a sliding tackle at the start of the move.
Then Dybala broke through the Atalanta defense to finish off for his fourth Serie A goal this season.
“It was a great test of maturity in a difficult field, three fundamental points for the championship,” said Higuain, who has scored 11 goals in as many games against the Bergamo side.
“There are still three days before the Champions League, we need to rest to give the best of ourselves.”
Atalanta had their chances with Musa Barrow missing an early penalty.
The 21-year-old Gambian rattled the crossbar after 17 minutes following a penalty awarded for a Sami Khedira handball.
“Atalanta had perhaps their best performance this season and deserved to win, until that unlucky equaliser, then everything changed,” said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
“That was the turning point. In the end, the quality of Juve overturned the result”.
Atalanta lost out on some refereeing decisions including a disputed Emre Can handball, which did not result in a penalty.
“I saw the action again. There is so much confusion nowadays on handball,” said Gasperini.
“Emre Can’s handball seemed very clear to me, but it was evaluated differently.
“The penalty we were awarded was the kind of challenge I’d have been furious to see given against me.
“The interpretations are completely different between players and referees, a common line is needed. If there is no clarity, it becomes a lottery.”
Inter will be looking to make it a perfect seven league games on the road this season as they travel to Torino.
Serie A runners-up Napoli, in seventh, desperately need a result at 14th-placed AC Milan, who are themselves floundering.
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