MILAN: Juventus striker Alvaro Morata scored four minutes after coming on to seal a 2-0 win at basement side Salernitana in Serie A on Tuesday and ease the pressure on the stuttering Turin club.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side came in for fierce criticism over the last week after a 4-0 Champions League hammering away to Chelsea and a 1-0 defeat by Atalanta, their fifth league loss of the season, but they responded at the Stadio Arechi.
Paulo Dybala had lashed home the opener in the 21st minute after a neat one-two with Dejan Kulusevski but Salernitana were inches away from an equaliser when Luca Ranieri hit the post after the break.
With the home side in the ascendancy, Morata came off the bench and doubled Juve’s lead by deftly flicking home a cross in the 70th minute, before Dybala missed a penalty with the final kick of the game as he lost his footing on the wet turf.
“Juventus has given so much to all of us and there are moments in life when it is time to give back. Now we need to stay close to this club, and we will come out of it together,” Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini told DAZN.
Juventus remain seventh with 24 points from 15 games, seven adrift of the top-four and 11 behind leaders Napoli, while Salernitana are bottom with eight points.
It has been a difficult week for Juves on and off the pitch, as the team suffered two straight defeats and on Saturday Italian finance police searched the clubs offices as part of an ongoing investigation into player trading.
Earlier, Atalanta notched up a fourth league win in a row and moved provisionally level on 31 points with third-placed Inter Milan after a Mario Pasalic hat-trick fired them to a resounding 4-0 win over relegation battling Venezia in Bergamo.
Pasalic scored his first two goals in the opening 12 minutes and added the other in the 67th, shortly after Teun Koopmeiners had netted the home team’s third.
Dusan Vlahovic scored his seventh goal in five matches as sixth-placed Fiorentina came from behind to beat Sampdoria 3-1 in Florence, while mid-table Hellas Verona were held to a 0-0 draw by second-bottom Cagliari.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021