TURIN, Italy (Reuters) – Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala flourished in the absence of suspended Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, scoring a hat-trick to give the Serie A champions a 3-0 win over Young Boys in their Champions League match.
Ronaldo, sent off in last month’s 2-0 win over Valencia, missed his first game since joining the Turin club in July but Juventus made light of his absence as they cantered to their ninth straight win of the season in all competitions.
The win leaves them with six points in Group H while group stage debutants Young Boys have yet to pick up a point or score a goal after losing both games 3-0 — a stark contrast to their Swiss league record of nine straight wins.
“I wanted a game like this,” said Dybala, who has struggled for form since Ronaldo’s arrival and started several games on the bench.
“Obviously, I want to play….(but) being left out has made me work harder and concentrate more. I certainly have to develop a better understanding with Ronaldo but I think we work well together.”
Juve went ahead after five minutes with the simplest of goals. Defender Leonardo Bonucci sent a long ball looping over a flat Young Boys defence and Dybala timed his run perfectly to volley gently past David von Ballmoos.
Young Boys bravely went forward but looked vulnerable every time Juventus attacked and Dybala missed a chance to extend their lead by shooting weakly at von Ballmoos.
But the Argentine struck again in the 33rd minute by tucking in the rebound after von Ballmoos could only parry Blaise Matuidi’s shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Dybala hit the inside of the post after the restart and although Young Boys then enjoyed another good spell, they were caught out again in the 69th minute.
Juan Cuadrado was released on the right and his ball into the area was touched in by Dybala who became the fourth Juventus player to score a Champions League hat-trick.
Young Boys finished with 10 men after defender Mohamed Ali Camara was sent off in the 78th minute after picking up two yellow cards in three minutes.
“I’m happy for him (Dybala), he’s on an upwards curve and playing more regularly but the others have also played well, above with maturity and calm against a well-organised team,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.
(Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)