Dybala hat-trick lifts Roma as Lazio slip-up in Tuscany

Published February 28, 2024
ROME: AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala controls the ball during the Serie A match against Torino at the Olympic Stadium.—AFP
ROME: AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala controls the ball during the Serie A match against Torino at the Olympic Stadium.—AFP

ROME: Paulo Dybala scored his first hat-trick in a AS Roma jersey in a 3-2 win over Torino in Serie A on Monday to keep the capital city side’s Champions League ambitions alive.

But Lazio stuttered in Tuscany, missing a chance to close the gap on their city rivals with a 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina.

Roma are sixth with 44 points, four points off Bol­ogna who occupy the final Champions League berth.

Fiorentina move up to seventh, three points behind Roma after overtaking Lazio, who drop to eighth spot.

England defender Chris Smalling got his first start for Roma in nearly six months.

But former Juventus forward Dybala was

in sparkling form days after the Romans advanced past Feyenoord into the Europa League last 16.

“The talent of the champion came out. Players like Paulo are decisive and for me they should never be questioned,” said Roma coach Daniele De Rossi. “We knew that it would be tough after the hard work on Thursday.”

Dybala got his opening goal from the penalty spot three minutes before the break in a tight game in the Stadio Olimpico.

Duvan Zapata revived Torino hopes two minutes later, heading into goal to keep the visitors in the game at the half-time whistle.

Dybala once again came to the rescue, curling in a second after 57 minutes, completing his hat-trick 12 minutes later following good work from substitute Romelu Lukaku.

For Dybala it was the seventh hat-trick of his career, and first since October 2018 in the Champions League for Juventus.

Dean Huijsen inadvertently turned the ball into his own net with two minutes to go setting up a tense finale.

But De Rossi’s side held on for back-to-back wins after their painful 4-2 defeat to leaders Inter Milan two weeks ago.

“Of course we could have suffered less, there are games to kill off, we could have managed it a little better until the end, but I’m satisfied, I saw good things,” said De Rossi.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina came from behind to see of Lazio despite rattling the woodwork three times and missing a penalty.

Luis Alberto put Lazio ahead after 45 minutes but Michael Kayode and Giacomo Bonaventura hit back with two goals in an eight minute spree after the hour mark.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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