Pogba inspires Juve
Paul Pogba scored two superb goals as the 19-year-old French-man led the way for Serie A leaders Juventus to open a five-point lead at the top of the standings following a 4-0 win over Udinese last night.
The former Manchester United midfielder showed skill and power with his two strikes, the first of which a blistering 30-metre blast that left Udinese goalkeeper Daniele Padelli helpless as it screamed past his hands and just under the crossbar.
Pogba’s first Serie A goal for Juve will surely be a contender for goal of the year in Italy but as aesthetically pleasing as it was, the 41st-minute goal was just as important for the Turin club as it opened the door in what had been a tightly contested match.
Just over 20 minutes into the second half, Pogba showed more of his shooting ability as he spun around an Udinese defender before unleashing another piledriver, this time a low effort that just nipped the inside of the post.
At that point Udinese’s spirit was broken, as the club who had fought the league leaders head-to-head seemed to lose its spirit. Mirko Vuncinic and Alessandro Matri finished off the scoring in the 72nd and 80th minutes, respectively.
Earlier in the evening, Lazio missed the chance to draw level with Juventus at the top of Serie A when they had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Palermo thanks to a late Hernanes penalty.
They moved into second place on 43 points, now five behind Juve and a point ahead of Napoli, who play at Fiorentina today.
The draw did little to help Palermo, who despite moving up to 16 points remain second bottom, three from safety.
Sergio Floccari’s deft header gave Vladimir Petkovic’s side the lead in the 10th minute but after the Lazio striker had a second goal wrongly disallowed for offside in the 62nd minute, Palermo struck with two goals in a minute.
First Egidio Arevalo Rios snuck around the Lazio defence to tap in Andrea Dossena’s low cross at the far post on 70 minutes, then Paulo Dybala latched on to a Fabrizio Miccoli pass across the six-yard box to snatch the lead.
However, the title challengers dusted themselves down and attacked Palermo, and six minutes before the end of a frantic second half the impressive Floccari was chopped down by Ezequiel Munoz in the area.
Hernanes comfortably slotted home the penalty, but despite pushing forward they failed to get the winner that would have piled on the pressure on Juventus.
Rios 70; Dybala 71;
Floccari 10; Hernanes 84 pen;
HT: 0-1. Att: 21,414.
Pogba 41, 66; Vucinic 72; Matri 80;
HT: 1-0. Att: 38,000.
Playing today – 15.00
Atalanta vs Cagliari
Chievo vs Parma
Fiorentina vs Napoli - 12.30
Genoa vs Catania
Milan vs Bologna
Pescara vs Torino
Roma vs Inter - 20.45
Siena vs Sampdoria
Tuesday: Coppa Italia semi-final, first leg – 20.45 Juventus vs Lazio.
Wednesday: Coppa Italia semi-final, first leg – 20.45 Roma vs Inter.
Saturday: 18.00 Lazio vs Chievo; 20.45 Juventus vs Genoa.
Sunday: 12.30 Bologna vs Roma. 15.00 Atalanta vs Milan; Cagliari vs Palermo; Catania vs Fiorentina; Parma vs Napoli; Sampdoria vs Pescara; Udinese vs Siena. 20.45 Inter vs Torino.
Varese vs Grosseto - 4-0 (match resumed from 83rd minute with Varese leading 3-0)