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Dybala, Mertens hat-tricks as Juventus, Napoli stay perfect


Milan (AFP) – Juventus and Napoli bounced back from Champions League disappointment to keep their Serie A perfect records and join Inter Milan at the top of the table on Sunday.

A Paulo Dybala hat-trick lifted Juventus to a 3-1 victory at Sassuolo making it four wins out of four for the champions, while Dries Mertens also scored three goals as Napoli demolished Benevento 6-0.

Inter Milan beat Crotone 2-0 on Saturday for a maximum 12 points in the campaign.

Benevento were no match for Napoli, looking for a strong response after their 2-1 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk.

“We were unlucky in Ukraine,” said Belgian forward Mertens.

“Against Shakhtar we made mistakes and didn’t play our game, but today we showed we can do damage.”

Brazilian Allan opened after three minutes and Lorenzo Insigne added a second after quarter of an hour in Naples.

Mertens kicked off his hat-trick with a 27th-minute volley, and then converted two penalties, with Jose Callejon also getting on the scoresheet in the first half.

Napoli are the new leaders on goal difference, but Mertens played down title talk.

“It’s still a long journey, Inter and Juve are doing well but we’ll see game after game,” he added.

– ‘Unstoppable Dybala’ –

Dybala’s heroics helped Juve bounce back after their 3-0 Champions League flop in Barcelona.

The Argentine left the pitch ten minutes from the end to a standing ovation at the Mapei Stadium following a masterclass performance by the 23-year-old, who has now scored eight goals in four league games.

His first was a left-footed volley from the edge of the box to beat Andrea Consigli on 16 minutes, the second a close-range effort again surprising the Sassuolo goalkeeper just after the break and the third a sublime free-kick on 63 minutes.

Sassuolo managed to get a consolation through Matteo Politano after a Stephan Lichtsteiner error on 51 minutes.

“I wanted to score one and three came along,” said Dybala after his second hat-trick of the season and his 52nd goal in his 100th match for Juventus.

“The team gives me confidence and I also compliment the coach who gives me the freedom to play where I want.”

But despite Dybala’s heroics, Massimiliano Allegri said there was room for improvement.

“He (Dybala) is very young and has much room for improvement. When he plays like that he is unstoppable,” said Allegri.

Behind the leaders, Lazio are fourth after struggling to get past Genoa 3-2 in Liguria to bring their tally to ten points.

The Romans could once again count on Ciro Immobile, who scored a double, in reply to a brace from Genoa’s 16-year-old forward Pietro Pellegri.

AC Milan showed they had recovered from their 4-1 defeat by Lazio last week with a 2-1 win over Udinese thanks to a Nikola Kalinic double on his first Serie A start for the club.

“Overall, it was a step forward in various different ways, including the attitude,” said Milan coach Vincenzo Montella.

Cagliari won 2-0 at promoted SPAL and Torino were held 2-2 at home by Sampdoria.

Roma eased past Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

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