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Leagues: Serie A

Dybala, Vlahovic score as Juve close in on Inter Milan


Rome (AFP) – Paulo Dybala and Dusan Vlahovic struck in the first half as Juventus put their Champions League woes behind them to consolidate fourth place in Serie A on Sunday with a 2-0 win over basement club Salernitana.

Days after their 3-0 European humiliation to Villarreal, Juventus kept their push to recapture the Serie A title alive with a win which moves them one point behind champions Inter Milan who are third and were held 1-1 at home against Fiorentina on Saturday.

Leaders AC Milan have a three-point advantage on Napoli with Juve seven points off top spot.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve stretched their unbeaten league run to 16 matches and have an opportunity to move third when they host Inter Milan in their next game after the international break.

Vlahovic teed up Dybala to open the scoring after five minutes in Turin for the Argentine’s first goal in two months on the eve of resuming laborious negotiations for a possible contract extension. 

The Argentinian, out of the contract in June, only returned after several weeks out with a thigh and hip injury in the late stages of the loss to Villarreal.

This time he played just under an hour and came off to a standing ovation from the fans at the Juventus Stadium.

Vlahovic got his head to a Mattia De Sciglio cross just before the half hour to close down the game, and join Lazio’s Ciro Immobile at the top of the scorers’ rankings with 21 this campaign.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini returned from a calf problem less than a week before Italy’s World Cup qualifying play-offs.

For Salernitana, Franck Ribery also returned for the last twenty minutes after missing the last two matches as a precaution for a slight head injury following a traffic accident. 

The Frenchman did not change the direction of the match but participated in the best period for the team, who nearly pulled a goal back with a Federico Bonazzoli volley diverted by Wojciech Szczesny midway through the second half.

Roma host city rivals Lazio later in the fight for fifth place and the Europa League berths with sixth-placed Atalanta at Bologna.

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