Juventus’s forward Gonzalo Higuain kicks the ball as Juventus’s forward from Argentina Paulo Dybala looks on during the Italian Serie A football match Bologna vs Juventus on December 17, 2017 at Renato Dall’Ara stadium in Bologna. / AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI
Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain booked holders Juventus an Italian Cup quarter-final derby clash with Torino after a 2-0 win over Genoa on Wednesday.
Dybala returned to goalscoring form after being benched for consecutive games by coach Massimiliano Allegri, breaking the deadlock just before half-time and setting up fellow Argentine Higuain for the second on 76 minutes.
“These games can be traps, but the important thing was to qualify,” said Higuain, who came on as a late substitute for Douglas Costa.
“I’m happy to have scored and I’m happy for Dybala: he started strong and when he didn’t score for a few games, it is normal that there is criticism, but it was too much.
“I hope he can find his balance with this goal.”
Juventus host Torino on January 3 after their city rivals earlier eliminated nine-time winners Roma as goals in either half from Lorenzo De Silvestri and Simone Edera sealed a 2-1 win.
Torino goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic played a key role with impressive saves, including from an Edin Dzeko penalty before Patrik Schick scored his first goal for Roma five minutes from time.
“We conceded too much on set-pieces, we were naive in front of goal,” said Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco.
Torino took the lead six minutes before the break through Silvestri, with Edera heading in the second on 72 minutes.
Roma were awarded a penalty after Schick was pulled back, but substitute Dzeko’s spot-kick was saved by Milinkovic-Savic.
Five minutes from time Schick got one back, with the hosts pouring forward in search of the equaliser with Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy and Schick denied by the post.