By Brian Homewood
MILAN, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Juventus forward Paulo Dybala scored three outstanding goals to notch his second league hat-trick of the season and lead the champions to a 3-1 win at Sassuolo on Sunday, as they bounced back from their midweek mauling by Barcelona.
The Argentine, known as ‘The Jewel’, celebrated his 100th game for the Turin side in style with one stunning effort from long-range and another from a seemingly impossible position where he was surrounded by four Sassuolo defenders.
Dries Mertens also grabbed a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Napoli thrashed hapless Serie A newcomers Benevento 6-0, scoring four times in the first 32 minutes.
Croatia’s Nikola Kalinic scored his first two goals for AC Milan in a 2-1 win over Udinese, as both sides had a goal chalked off after consultations with the video assistant referee (VAR). Juve, humbled 3-0 by Barcelona on Tuesday, maintained their perfect start in Serie A with 12 points from four games, alongside Inter Milan and Napoli.
Dybala has scored in each of those games and has already taken his tally to eight.
The Argentine put Juventus ahead in the 16th minute when he took Mario Mandzukic’s pass in his stride and swept an outswinging shot into the far corner from 25 metres.
Not content with that, he conjured up a goal from nowhere four minutes into the second half.
Collecting Juan Cuadrado’s pass inside the area, Dybala found himself surrounded by defenders but caught his opponents off guard with a snapshot out of the blue.
Matteo Politano pulled one back for Sassuolo but Dybala completed his hat-trick by curling in a free kick just after the hour mark, taking his Juventus tally to 52 goals in 100 appearances in all competitions.
“Paulo is continuing to improve, although he needs to do better when we’re in the lead,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. “But he’s an extraordinary player.”
Sassuolo are one of five teams still to win.
Napoli took their league tally to 15 goals in four games with their demolition of Benevento, who are bottom after losing all their matches so far.
Allan, Lorenzo Insigne, Mertens, with an acrobatic effort, and Jose Callejon were all on target in the first half, before the Belgian converted two penalties after half-time to complete the rout.
Milan, thumped 4-1 by Lazio last week, squeezed past Udinese although they had a let off in the tenth minute when Kevin Lasagna broke clear and scored for the visitors, only to see his goal ruled out by the VAR for offside.
The ball was back in the centre circle and ready for kick off when the decision was finally made.
The goals all came in a nine-minute first half spell with Kalinic, signed from Fiorentina in the summer, scoring twice for Milan and Lasagna replying in between after pouncing on an awful pass by Alessio Romagnoli.
Kalinic had the ball in the net again in the second half, but it was also ruled out, again for offside, after the referee consulted the VAR.
Milan are fourth with nine points.
Torino and Sampdoria drew 2-2, all the goals coming in the first half, while Cagliari won 2-0 at SPAL. (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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