Weston McKennie and Paulo Dybala score in Juventus win over Udinese


Paulo Dybala glared at Juventus directors instead of celebrating after scoring in a 2-0 Serie A win over Udinese on Saturday, which sent the Turin club level with fourth-placed Atalanta.

The Argentina striker is yet to agree an extension to his Juve contract, which is due to expire at the end of the season, despite long-running negotiations.

Recent Italian media reports suggested he was unhappy with the club’s stance in talks, and the 28-year-old appeared to send a message to the Juve hierarchy when he reacted to firing home the opening goal in the 19th minute by staring at club directors in the stands.

However, Dybala downplayed the gesture after the game.

“I invited a friend and couldn’t find him, there were a lot of people,” he told Sky Italia.

Asked if that explanation should be believed, Dybala replied, “I don’t know, that is up to you.”

“I have nothing to prove to anyone. The club decided that we will talk in February or March, I am available to the coach,” Dybala then told DAZN.

United States international Weston McKennie headed home Juve’s second in the 79th minute to stretch their unbeaten league run to eight games.

Juve remain fifth but moved on to 41 points, level with Atalanta in fourth, who have two games in hand. Udinese are 14th with 20 points.

Allegri marked his 300th game as Juventus coach, becoming the third manager to reach the landmark after Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi.

His task was made easier by the fact that the visitors were suffering from a COVID-19 outbreak that left nine players and three staff members unavailable.

Only 5,000 fans were allowed into the Allianz Stadium as part of new restrictions to fight the spread of the virus, but those who turned up were eager to see their side respond to an Italian Super Cup defeat by rivals Inter Milan on Wednesday.

Dybala sent them on the road to victory when he curled in a finish, but the striker’s reaction is sure to spark further speculation about his future.

Udinese enjoyed good spells either side of the break but struggled to carve out chances and McKennie eventually put the result beyond doubt by heading home a Mattia De Sciglio cross on the 79th minute.

Sergio Oliveira scores on debut as Roma beat Cagliari

Sergio Oliveira scored a penalty on his AS Roma debut as Jose Mourinho’s side ended a three-match winless run by beating relegation battling Cagliari 1-0 in Serie A on Sunday.

Portuguese midfielder Oliveira, who joined the capital club on loan from Porto on Wednesday, calmly converted a spot-kick in the 32nd minute following a Dalbert handball.

Jordan Veretout and Nicolo Zaniolo threatened a second for the hosts after the break, but the best chance fell to Cagliari when Joao Pedro’s close-range shot was pushed onto the bar by Rui Patricio five minutes from time.

It was Roma’s first win in almost a month, after picking up one point from three games, and took Mourinho’s side up to sixth place on 35 points, six behind Juventus in fifth.

Cagliari’s bid to avoid the drop was boosted by back-to-back wins at the start of the year, but they were without 11 players due to injuries, COVID-19 and Africa Cup of Nations duties for their trip to the capital, and defeat left them 18th with 16 points.

Elsewhere, Luis Nani got an assist two minutes into his debut for Venezia, coming off the bench to set up David Okereke’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw against midtable Empoli.

Antonin Barak scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for Hellas Verona at Sassuolo that took Igor Tudor’s side above their hosts into the top half of the table.

Immobile fires Lazio into sixth place

Ciro Immobile scored twice to climb to the top of the Serie A scoring charts as Lazio beat COVID-hit bottom side Salernitana 3-0 on Saturday to go sixth.

The Italy international struck twice in the opening 10 minutes to take his tally for the season to 17 goals, one more than Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic.

Immobile’s second was his 140th Serie A goal since joining the Roman club ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

That tally is second only to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (179 goals) and Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain (163) in Europe’s top-five leagues during that period.

The 31-year-old was close to a hat-trick when his glancing header struck the underside of the bar, as the visitors dominated against a Salernitana side missing six players through COVID-19.

Substitute Manuel Lazzari completed a comfortable win by finishing off a flowing counter-attack after the break.

Maurizio Sarri’s side rose to sixth place on 35 points, three behind Juventus, while Salernitana remain bottom with 11 points.

Elsewhere, ninth-placed Torino came from behind to beat relegation battling Sampdoria 2-1 in Genoa, as Wilfried Singo and Dennis Praet responded to Francesco Caputo’s opener.

Spezia stun AC Milan

Emmanuel Gyasi scored a stunning 96th-minute winner as relegation battling Spezia came from behind to beat AC Milan 2-1 in a controversial match at San Siro on Monday, putting a dent in the home side’s Serie A title hopes.

In-form Milan winger Rafael Leao put his side in front at the end of the first half after Theo Hernandez missed a penalty, but the visitors struck back through substitute Kevin Agudelo.

Junior Messias thought he had won it for the hosts when he curled home in stoppage time, but the referee’s whistle had already sounded for an earlier foul on Milan’s Ante Rebic, and Spezia then hit on the break to win it at the death.

The decision left Milan furious as referee Marco Serra left hardly any time for advantage to be played, with around two seconds passing between the foul on Rebic and Messias’ shot.

“I tried to calm down the players but couldn’t,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN.

“We know we have suffered an injustice. It’s a shame, the responsibility is ours for the goal we conceded but that must be shared with the referee.”

It was a missed opportunity for Pioli’s side, who went into the game knowing a win would send them top, but remain two points behind leaders Inter Milan, who have a game in hand.

Spezia climbed to 14th place on 22 points, six clear of the relegation zone.

“The guys were great; they knew it was a difficult game against a team that is fighting for the title. We did well right to the end,” Spezia coach Thiago Motta said.

Milan went into the game on a run of three consecutive league wins, despite missing a string of key players through injury and Africa Cup of Nations commitments.

The hosts started strongly as Leao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Saelemaekers tested Ivan Provedel.

But the goalkeeper was at fault when he kicked Leao to concede a spot-kick, which Hernandez steered wide.

Within two minutes Leao put them in front, racing onto a long pass to guide a lob over the outrushing Provedel.

Spezia were improved after the break and were rewarded when Agudelo fired home from close range on the 64th minute.

Milan piled forward late on and thought they had won it with Messias’ curler but the referee had called a free-kick, which Ibrahimovic got on target to force another save from the impressive Provedel.

Spezia struck on the break in the final minute to clinch it, Viktor Kovalenko picking out Gyasi to finish.


Courtesy: Reuters

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