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Match 23
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Paulo Dybala scores as Juventus top Roma for 11th straight Serie A win

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Paulo Dybala celeb vs Roma 160124
Paulo Dybala scored in the 77th minute.

Paulo Dybala unlocked a tense encounter with Roma in Turin to fire Juventus within two points of Serie A leaders Napoli.

Massimiliano Allegri's reigning champions raced into Scudetto contention after registering a 10th straight victory last time out but they found win number 11 -- a rare 1-0 triumph -- harder to come by.

Resilient Roma, who are harder to beat under returning coach Luciano Spalletti, only let their guard down once, with Dybala scoring past Wojciech Szczesny in the 77th minute at Juventus Stadium.

The Bianconeri now have free-scoring Napoli, who were 4-2 winners at Sampdoria earlier on Sunday, in their sights with a showdown between the title rivals scheduled for February 13.

Roma are among the division's most lethal goalscorers but have come undone on multiple occasions due to a leaky back line.

With that in mind, Spalletti shuffled his pack to place emphasis on defence, with regular playmaker Miralem Pjanic asked to drop deeper and cover the rearguard.

Juve would dominate possession during the first half but found themselves limited to speculative attempts thanks to Roma's new formation.

Szczesny gathered Dybala's early free-kick without difficulty and Gianluigi Buffon was equally comfortable in the home goal when Alessandro Florenzi came knocking.

Dybala would have scored a special goal in the 19th minute had his delicious lob dipped enough to fool Szczesny, but it kissed the crossbar and he was flagged for offside.

Paul Pogba -- with leopard print dyed into his shaved hair -- put power behind his attempt to drive Sami Khedira's cross home, the Frenchman instead shooting over.

With Roma seemingly in retreat just before the break, Szczesny found Dybala's fizzing drive easy to handle -- it was time for both sides to rethink their respective approaches.

The new ideas took a while to settle in but those transmitted by Spalletti clearly carried more weight as Roma came very close to scoring in the 64th minute.

Giorgio Chiellini's pass out of defence was too short and Lucas Digne took advantage to set up Radja Nainggolan, whose blast was on target only for a deflection to steer it over the bar.

Allegri's response was to introduce Juan Cuadrado and the on-loan Chelsea winger sent Szczesny sprawling with a 25-yard shot within minutes of his arrival.

Patrice Evra soon repeated the trick from the left side and Szczesny did well to keep his sheet clean.

The Bianconeri scented blood and, shortly after Pogba rasped the ball past the far post, Dybala made an overdue breakthrough.

Pogba pulled the strings, reeling Florenzi in before supplying Dybala with a cute pass that the former Palermo striker tucked underneath the onrushing Szczesny.

Roma were visibly deflated and the look on Edin Dzeko's face when he had a late goal ruled out for a foul on Andrea Barzagli told its own story.


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