Dusan Vlahovic scored a sensational first-half brace to help Juventus defeat Sassuolo 3-0 in Serie A on Tuesday, extending Massimiliano Allegri’s side’s unbeaten league run to 15 games in front of a sold-out home crowd.
Juve is second in the standings with 49 points, two points behind leaders Inter Milan and seven ahead of third-place AC Milan.
Juve gave the visitors more possession, but they remained in control of a feisty match at the Juventus Stadium, with Vlahovic breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute with a rasping effort from just beyond the area.
The Serbian striker made it 2-0 before halftime with a long-range free kick, his tenth goal of the season.
“Vlahovic played a good game, he was much more calm,” Allegri said during a news conference.
“This morning, I talked with him and informed him that he wanted to overdo it (in the Coppa Italia quarter-final against Frosinone), and he got into an altercation with the referee. Tonight, he was considerably more alert.”
For the first time in more than three years, the 23-year-old has contributed to a goal in four straight Serie A outings, scoring three and assisting twice.
“Dusan went through a difficult time since he wasn’t well. Now he’s working hard to develop and finding the correct balance to control the game,” Allegri said.
Sassuolo, which handed Juve its solitary defeat of the season in all competitions in the reverse game, came close in the 53rd minute via striker Domenico Berardi, who shot just wide from the outside of the box.
Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a superb stop to deny Berardi another powerful attempt 10 minutes later, before replacement Federico Chiesa clinched the victory for the hosts in the 89th minute with a low strike into the center of the goal.
Juve head to 13th-placed Lecce on Sunday, where they may leapfrog Inter into first position, since Simone Inzaghi’s side will only return to Serie A action on January 28 after the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
Sassuolo, who are 14th with two points separating them from the relegation zone, will next face mid-table Monza.