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    Paulo Dybala a thorn in side of former team as Juve downs Palermo

    Feb 18, 2017

    TURIN, Italy — Paulo Dybala orchestrated his former side's destruction as Juventus beat relegation-threatened Palermo 4-1 to move 10 points clear in Serie A on Friday.

    Dybala, who also hit the post, scored two and set up another against the side that brought him to Italy from Argentina. The 23-year-old didn't celebrate after his goals.

    Juventus, which is marching towards an unprecedented sixth successive Serie A title, extended its lead over second-placed Roma, which hosts Torino on Sunday.

    The result also extended Juve's Serie A record to 29 consecutive home wins and leaves it full of confidence ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 match against Porto.

    "Out of respect to my former teammates and Palermo fans, I didn't celebrate. I had three great years at Palermo," Dybala said. "I thanked (Gonzalo) Higuain for the great assist he did but it wasn't a celebration.

    "We've taken an important step forwards but we didn't play very well ... we will have to change our attitude and mentality for the Champions League because it won't be easy playing against Porto."

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    Palermo remained 18th, eight points from safety.

    Dybala, who moved to Juventus for 32 million euros (then $36 million) in 2015, almost scored in the fifth minute but saw his free kick come off the left post.

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    Juventus did take the lead eight minutes later when Gonzalo Higuain got on the end of a free kick and, although he was denied by Palermo goalkeeper Josip Posavec, Claudio Marchisio fired the rebound into the roof of the net.

    Dybala was successful with a free kick five minutes from halftime, curling it into the top right corner.

    Higuain moved top of the goalscoring charts with his 19th league goal of the season shortly after the hour mark, deftly chipping the ball over Posavec and in off the base of the left post after a delightful through ball from Dybala.

    Higuain has scored one more goal than Roma forward Edin Dzeko and two more than Torino's Andrea Belotti. He has also just two fewer than the entire Palermo team.

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    Higuain returned the favor for his Argentina teammate in the 89th. He stole the ball off Palermo defender Edoardo Goldaniga and raced downfield before unselfishly backheeling it toward Dybala, who drilled it into the bottom right corner.

    Ivaylo Chochev headed in Palermo's consolation in stoppage time.

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