Vlahovic brace pushes Juve two points behind leaders Inter

Juventus’ Italian forward Federico Chiesa (L) fights for the ball with Sassuolo’s Norwegian midfielder Kristian Thorstvedt (R) during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Sassuolo on January 16, 2024 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin. AFP

Dusan Vlahovic shot Juventus to within two points of Serie A leaders Inter Milan with a stunning double in Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Sassuolo.

Serbia striker Vlahovic struck twice from distance in the first half at the Allianz Stadium in Turin to help Juve to their sixth straight win in all competitions and keep the pressure on fierce rivals Inter.

“We try to prepare every match as if it were our last… we’re happy with the win, let’s hope we can keep going,” said Vlahovic to DAZN.

The 23-year-old put the hosts ahead in the 15th minute when left all alone near the edge of the penalty area, from where his dipping shot flew past Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.

And he took his league tally to nine eight minutes before the break with a fabulous free-kick which again left Consigli grasping at thin air.

Juve again didn’t put in a particularly impressive display but Sassuolo didn’t create enough and Federico Chiesa made absolutely sure of the points in the 89th minute when he bundled home his sixth goal of the season.

Chiesa has again struggled with injuries this season and returned from a knee problem just before the hour mark in place of young gun Kenan Yildiz.

“I’m pleased Federico scored, he deserved it. We’ve known each other a long time and we’re good friends, the goal will help him,” added Vlahovic.

“But who scores is not important, it’s that we win matches.”

Juve can now claim top spot at the weekend as they travel to Lecce on Sunday while Inter contest the revamped, four-team Italian Super Cup in Riyadh.

Inter take on Lazio in the semi-finals on Thursday and even if they lose they won’t play what would have been next weekend’s home clash with Atalanta until the end of February.

A trip to high-flying Fiorentina will follow the Super Cup for Inter at the end of this month before a showdown with Juve at the San Siro in early February.

That match could be key to the title race as Juve look extremely tough to beat and, despite never hitting the heights Inter have hit in terms of performances, just cannot stop winning matches.

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