A returning Paulo Dybala impressed for Juventus as the Bianconeri strengthened their hopes of a top-four finish with a 2-0 win over Salernitana.

Italian giants Juventus put their UEFA Champions League loss to Villarreal behind them with an impressive 2-0 win over Salernitana in their Serie A fixture at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Massimiliano Allegri made several changes to the side that fell short in midweek, and it helped make the difference on the day. The returning Paulo Dybala gave the home side a brilliant start with a fifth-minute opener that handed Juventus the momentum.

Dusan Vlahovic’s 29th-minute goal handed the Bianconeri a comfortable margin to play with ease. Salernitana, for their part, did put up a good fight, especially in the second half and on another day, could have stopped an out of sorts Juventus side in their tracks.

Juventus could have scored more if not for the impressive Luigi Sepe in the Salernitana goal. The win takes Allegri’s men to 59 points, just four points off second-placed Napoli. Given that they have struggled to impress this season, it is fair to say that the Old Lady have been able to carve out results in their favour consistently.

The win extends the Turin giants’ unbeaten run in Serie A to 16 games ahead of the crunch clash against defending champions Inter Milan after the international break. For now, they have given themselves enough breathing space in the race for a top-four finish and could even be set to finish higher should results go their way. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Juventus players fared on Sunday.

Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10

The Polish international rose to the occasion well whenever he was needed. He did well to claim the high balls inside the box and was at hand to deny Federico Bonazzoli with a smart save. He was reliable on the night and ensured nothing went past him in the Juventus goal.

Mattia De Sciglio: 6/10

The Italian was a marauding force on the right flank and did well to grab himself an assist for Vlahovic’s goal on the night. He was also solid defensively and appears to have come into some good form at just the right moment.

Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10

It was a rather quiet outing for the Dutch international as Juventus dominated proceedings in the first half of the match. The Turin giants did sit back more in the second 45 minutes, but de Ligt held his own for most of the game. He was beaten a couple of times in the air by Milan Djuric, but it amounted to little for Salernitana.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6/10

The veteran’s return handed Juventus a solid leader at the back as they dominated the first 45 minutes of the game. He appeared to be some way away from full fitness and was replaced by Daniele Rugani at the break.

Luca Pellegrini: 7/10

The Italian was impressive at both ends of the pitch and dominated the left flank. Unfortunately, he received a yellow card for simulation and will now miss the crunch clash against Inter Milan.

Juan Cuadrado: 6/10

The Colombian veteran showed excellent awareness with his movement on the pitch and played a big role in Vlahovic’s goal. His influence waned in the second half, and he was called upon to fulfil several functions, something that he did with decent effect.

Danilo: 5/10

Allegri pulled a trick out of his predecessor Andrea Pirlo’s book by playing the Brazilian in midfield. The player looked out of sorts and largely struggled to impact proceedings. At the same time, though, he did well in defensive actions, but his ability to make a difference while on the ball was suspect.

Arthur Melo: 6/10

The former Barcelona man struggled against Villarreal but put in a much-improved display on Sunday. Arthur’s positioning was impressive, and he did well to connect the midfield to the defence, laying a solid foundation for those ahead of him to exploit going forward.

Adrien Rabiot: 7/10

The Frenchman often draws flak for his passenger-like performances, but he has taken his game up a notch in recent weeks. Rabiot performed well against Salernitana and linked up well with Pellegrini on the left flank. He also earned himself a tactical yellow for pulling back Franck Ribery. Rabiot is finally repaying the faith Allegri has put in him all season.

Paulo Dybala: 8/10

The Argentine’s return was much anticipated, and he wasted no time making an impact. It took Dybala just five minutes to put Juventus ahead, and he also linked up well with Vlahovic. It was an excellent performance from the player who lasted just 58 minutes on the pitch.

Dusan Vlahovic: 8/10

The Serbian marksman was up to the challenge and came out on top in his duel against Norbert Gyomber. He ran into the right channels throughout and gave Juventus breathing space with a well-taken goal before the half-hour mark. Vlahovic was largely isolated up front in the second half but looked likely to add to his tally when presented with an opportunity.

SUBSTITUTES

Daniele Rugani: 6/10

He replaced Chiellini at half-time and was called into action after the break as Salernitana ramped up the pressure. Rugani held his own and, alongside de Ligt, helped Juventus to a well deserved clean sheet.

Alvaro Morata: 5/10

The Spaniard replaced Dybala in the 58th minute but lacked the Argentine’s dynamism. He had few clear openings as Juventus were content to sit deep and defend their lead in the second half.

Federico Bernardeschi: 5/10

He replaced Arthur in the 70th minute and added fresh legs to the Juventus midfield.

Moise Kean: N/A

He replaced Vlahovic in stoppage time as Juventus saw out the game.

Fabio Miretti: N/A

He was barely on the pitch after coming on for Juan Cuadrado in stoppage time.

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