Alvaro Morata puts Juventus in charge against Inter Milan
Alvaro Morata ended his scoring drought in style as Juventus took firm control of their Coppa Italia semifinal with Inter Milan.
Morata had failed to score in 20 games, a run stretching back to Oct. 4 when he netted in a 3-1 Serie A victory over Bologna.
But the Spain striker scored twice and substitute Pablo Dybala added another as Juventus secured a healthy 3-0 advantage to defend in the second leg in Milan.
Inter's plight worsened when Jeison Murillo was sent off 20 minutes from time for a second bookable offence and the Colombian defender will miss the San Siro return in March.
Cup holders Juventus came into the contest as strong favourites having won their last 11 Serie A matches to draw within two points of leaders Napoli, but Felipe Melo's shot caused them some early concern.
Juventus gradually got on top, however, and strong claims for a penalty when Inter midfielder Gary Medel handled were waved away.
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The deadlock was broken in the 36th minute after Murillo had brought down the strong-running Juan Cuadrado.
Morata might have been forgiven for stepping up for spot-kick duty after his barren run in front of goal, but he sent Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic the wrong way with a thumping finish and his relief was tangible.
Inter had plenty of possession at the start of the second period but they created little and fell further behind after 63 minutes when Mario Mandzukic's shot was blocked following another Cuadrado burst.
Patrice Evra kept the move alive and, after his cross unwittingly struck the legs of Melo, Morata sent another flashing drive past Handanovic.
Murillo forced a save from Neto but the defender was soon trudging off the pitch after once more unceremoniously stopping Cuadrado in full flow.
Morata should have completed his hat-trick following a brilliant ball into his path from Paul Pogba but this time he could not keep his shot down.
But the tie was surely put beyond Inter seven minutes from time when Kwadwo Asamoah set up Dybala and he drove through the legs of the luckless Handanovic from 20 yards.