Dybala seals winning warm-up for Juve
Juventus enjoyed a successful dress rehearsal for the Champions League Round of 16 return away to FC Bayern with a 1-0 Serie A victory over Sassuolo Calcio on Friday evening. Five days prior to the top European showdown, a 39,240 crowd at the Juventus Stadium saw Paulo Dybala score the match-winning goal. The Italian record champions moved six points clear at the top of the table overnight.
"I'm very satisfied with our performance," commented Massimiliano Allegri after the match. The head coach opted to rest a handful of key players against the side lying seventh in the table. Paul Pogba was brought on for Sami Khedira after the hour mark, Stephan Lichtsteiner came on shortly before the final whistle, and Patrice Evra did not make an appearance.
Juventus' last league defeat dates back to October, a 1-0 reverse in the first meeting with Sassuolo. In the return La Vecchia Signora posted a deserved but unspectacular win. However, the 35th-minute goal was well worth watching: after dribbling down the right wing Juan Cuadrado set up Dybala who curled the ball into the far corner of the net.
Buffon set for league record
The hosts won by a narrow 1-0 scoreline as they failed to make best use of their chances in the second half. Juventus are unbeaten in 19 in the Italian top flight, winning 18 of those matches. Netminder Gianluigi Buffon is poised to set a record. The goalkeeping legend only needs three more minutes to surpass the best-mark set by former Milan keeper Sebastiano Rossi, who kept a clean sheet for 929 minutes in the 1993/94 season.
However, I Bianconeri immediately turned their focus to Wednesday's encounter with FC Bayern. "Bayern's strength results from the way they control the ball. We have to withstand the pressure, defend stoutly and hurt them when we have the chance," Allegri demanded. The Italians are scheduled to arrive in Munich on Tuesday afternoon.
Juventus line-up against Sassuolo:Buffon, Rugani, Bonucci, Barzagli, Cuadrado, Khedira (Pogba 72), Marchisio, Asamoah, Alex Sandro, Dybala (Morata 80), Mandzukic (Lichtsteiner 89)