Juventus returned to winning ways in Serie A after Dusan Vlahovic scored two and assisted the other in a comfortable 3-0 win over Salernitana on Tuesday.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side, seemingly shaken by their 15-point deduction, had not won any of their previous three league games, but responded with a dominant performance at Stadio Arechi.
Vlahovic’s 28th-minute spot kick set the visiting Bianconeri in motion before the Serbia international coincidentally assisted compatriot Filip Kostic just before half-time.
Star player Vlahovic added his second after 47 minutes as the win lifted a resurgent Juve to 10th, albeit some 13 points behind Lazio in fourth.
Vlahovic headed over an inviting cross from Mattia De Sciglio in an otherwise dull opening, but the striker made amends just before the half hour mark.
An unnecessary foul in the penalty area by Juve mercenary Hans Nicolussi on Fabio Miretti gave the visitors the chance for the breakthrough, and Vlahovic fired in from the penalty spot with help from Guillermo Ochoa’s left post.
Vlahovic then dragged wastefully wide and made a similar connection with a poor right-footed volley, only for the final failed attempt to find Kostic, who poked the second goal at the back post.
A delicate through ball from Nicolo Fagioli tapped Vlahovic to boost his scoring after the break, with the striker sliding a cool left-footed finish low past the onrushing Ochoa.
Angel Di Maria’s smashing strike hit the crossbar and Moise Kean was disallowed by Ochoa’s left post as Juve made an emphatic return to form.
What does it mean? Juve back on track after Allegri warning
A 5-1 thrashing at the hands of league leaders Napoli and a surprise 2-0 defeat to Monza in Juve’s last three league games, either side of a 3-3 draw with Atalanta, gave Allegri some concerns.
With Juve having scored 15 points following an investigation into previous transfer deals, Allegri de Bianconeri warned they must reach 40 points first to stave off an unlikely relegation.
Juventus stepped up to do just that with a confident performance to progress to 26 points, although they still have plenty of room to make up a spot in Europe, trailing Italy’s top six by 12.
Vlahovic’s hot streak in Salernitana continues
Vlahovic has now scored five goals in four league appearances against Salernitana, with a brace for Fiorentina and three goals for new club Juve, including his double in this match.
The first-half goal was Vlahovic’s 14th goal from the spot in 15 attempts in Serie A – the best success rate (93 per cent) among players who have taken 15 or more penalties in the competition since his debut in 2018.
Take care of Miretti
Promising young midfielder Miretti won the penalty for Vlahovic’s opener before being stretchered off after 40 minutes with what looked like a worrying lower leg injury.
The 19-year-old, who made his breakthrough at Juventus this season, suffered the injury in a tackle with Boulaye Dia, and Allegri hopes the blow wasn’t as bad as it first appeared.
Juve is home to Fiorentina on Sunday, while Salernitana visits Hellas Verona the next day.