Alvaro Morata scored twice to help Juventus to a 3-1 home win over Lazio on Saturday and keep alive their faint hopes of a 10th consecutive Serie A title.
The Bianconeri, who started with Cristiano Ronaldo on the substitutes’ bench, had started sluggishly and fell behind inside 15 minutes courtesy of Joaquin Correa’s third league goal of the campaign.
Adrien Rabiot pulled them level with their first shot on target in the 39th minute, though, before Morata’s quickfire double after the break – the second from the penalty spot – sealed a third win in four top-flight games.
Andrea Pirlo’s side remain in third, but have moved to within a point of Milan and seven of leaders Inter, having played the same number of games.
Lazio, who had gone close through long-range efforts from Mohamed Fares and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic early on, deservedly went ahead after 14 minutes.
Correa cut inside from the left, turned Merih Demiral inside out and coolly slotted past Wojciech Szczesny into the bottom-left corner.
The Juve goalkeeper got down well to repel another Milinkovic-Savic drive soon after as Lazio continued to press, while Morata headed wide at the other end.
Juve pulled level six minutes before the interval when Morata played in Rabiot, who unleashed an unstoppable drive into the roof of Pepe Reina’s net from an acute angle.
Milinkovic-Savic was again in the thick of the action at the start of the second half, the Serbian heading against Szczesny’s crossbar from Luis Alberto’s looped ball over the top.
It was Juve who scored next, though, Morata superbly firing past Reina in the 57th minute after being released by the impressive Federico Chiesa.
Morata then secured maximum points for the reigning champions three minutes later, slotting home from the spot after Aaron Ramsey had been brought down inside the area by Milinkovic-Savic.
What does it mean? Juve bounce back from sloppy start
Poor starts have been a feature of Juve’s season, with Correa’s goal the fifth they have conceded in the first 15 minutes so far this term – they conceded two such goals in the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign.
They responded well, though, and put the game to bed by the hour-mark courtesy of two wonderful finishes from Rabiot and Morata, the latter adding a penalty to compound the misery for Lazio, who have now lost three league away matches in a row for the first time since 2015.
Morata steps up in style
With Ronaldo on the bench, the goalscoring burden fell to Morata. He did not disappoint, the on-loan Atletico Madrid striker taking his goal involvement tally this season to 15 (seven goals, eight assists) – his best return in a Serie A campaign.
Kulusevski fails to shine
Dejan Kulusevski has largely impressed during his debut season with Juve, but he was off the pace here. He did make two key passes to his team-mates, but failed to have a single shot and completed just 67.7 per cent of his passes, the lowest rate of any home starter.
Key Opta Facts:
– No player in Serie A has delivered more than Morata’s eight assists so far this season.
– Morata scored a brace in Serie A for the first time since March 2016 (against Torino), while he has found the net in two consecutive appearances in the competition for the first time since February 2015.
– Juventus have scored 3+ goals for three home games in a row in Serie A for the first time since March 2019.
– Correa’s goal is only the third conceded at home by Juventus in the first half in Serie A this season. They last conceded such a goal in December against Fiorentina.
– Lazio have found the net against Juventus for five consecutive games in Serie A for the first time since January 2009.
– Rabiot has scored his first goal at the Allianz Stadium in Serie A for Juventus, having scored his previous two on the road.
Juve will be hoping to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to Porto when the Portuguese side travel to Italy in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday. Lazio, meanwhile, host Crotone in Serie A on Friday.
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