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AFP
March 8, 2021

Morata spearheads Juve fightback against Lazio

Sports

AFP
March 8, 2021

MILAN: Alvaro Morata scored twice and set up another as Juventus warmed up for next week’s Champions League game against Porto with a 3-1 comeback win over Lazio on Saturday to close the gap on the Milan teams in Serie A.

Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench before next week’s key last 16, second leg game against the Portuguese in Turin with Juventus trailing 2-1.

Champions Juventus fell behind to an early Joaquin Correa goal following a Dejan Kulusevski passing error midfield.

But Morata set up Adrien Rabiot to pull the hosts level before the break with the Spaniard scoring twice in a three-minute spell before the hour mark.

Andrea Pirlo’s side are third, seven points behind leaders Inter who host Atalanta on Monday, and one point adrift of AC Milan who play Hellas Verona on Sunday.

“Today we started the game 20 minutes late but it was normal because many were out of position and many returned (from injury),” said Pirlo.

“But there was a great reaction, we didn’t get down and despite the many absences we played an excellent match.

“For us it was a final, an important match for the standings and we’re happy.”

Paulo Dybala remains out injured along with defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfielder Matthijs de Ligt, while Rodrigo Bentancur positive for coronavirus.

But Juan Cuadrado started after missing three league games with Arthur and Leonardo Bonucci also returning off the bench in the second half.

Morata started up front alongside Kulusevski, with Ciro Immobile leading the Lazio attack alongside Correa.

And the Argentine pounced after quarter of an hour after Kulusevski gave the ball away, shaking off Merih Demiral to beat Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal. Szczesny denied Luis Alberto a second eight minutes later.