Virus-hit Dybala still dangerous for title-chasing Juventus


Paulo Dybala remains as dangerous as ever despite nearly 50 days with the coronavirus.

Cristiano Ronaldo had already given Juventus an early advantage by converting a penalty when Dybala doubled the lead with a splendid, curving effort in a 2-0 win at Bologna in the Serie A restart for both clubs on Monday.

Resuming its chase for a record-extending ninth straight Italian league title, Juventus moved four points clear of Lazio, which visits Atalanta on Wednesday.

It was a welcome complete performance for Juventus after being held scoreless over two Italian Cup matches and losing the final to Napoli last week when Dybala’s saved kick in the penalty shootout proved key.

“It was essential to win,” Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said.

“It was tough to restart after so long. Those two matches were underwhelming. This is the right path. We need to have the desire to bring home the result at any cost.”

Dybala was isolated for 46 days starting in March when he continued to test positive for the virus week after week — even though he was reportedly without symptoms. Dybala’s girlfriend also tested positive.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t really feel that great today,” Dybala said.

“But I’m happy that I played a great match. During the time when I was idle I tried to stay in form by eating nutritiously. Ronaldo, meanwhile, continued to struggle from missed chances.

Matthijs de Ligt earned the penalty that Ronaldo converted then also started the play that led to Dybala’s goal, which was set up by a backheel pass from Federico Bernardeschi.

From just beyond the area, Dybala bent in a left-footed shot inside the left post.

After the break, Bernardeschi hit the post from the edge of the area and Ronaldo was unable to finish on the follow up.

Dybala also had another chance with his right foot but just missed the target.

Juventus finished with 10 men when second-half substitute Danilo picked up his second yellow card.

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