Juventus held off Sampdoria to win their second match of the Serie A season 3-2 on Sunday but will have to face Chelsea without star forward Paulo Dybala after the Argentina forward limped off with a thigh injury.
Dybala opened the scoring early at a wet Allianz Stadium, with Leonardo Bonucci and Manuel Locatelli netting the other goals to move Juve ninth on eight points, but soon afterwards the 27-year-old left the field in tears after the latest in a long line of injuries.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side host holders Chelsea in their second Champions League group match on Wednesday and the coach said that both Dybala and centre-forward Alvaro Morata, who also exited with a thigh problem towards the end of the match, would be out of action until after the next international break which runs from after next weekend’s matches to October 15.
“Dybala and Morata definitely won’t be available for Chelsea and Torino (on Saturday),” Allegri told reporters after the match.
Dybala got off to a great start by flashing home his third goal in all competitions this season with nine minutes on the clock, striking home a beautiful first-time finish after Locatelli’s shot was blocked.
The hosts were affected by Dybala’s emotional exit in the 22nd minute and performed worse without him on the field, but looked to have taken a big step towards victory when Bonucci slotted home his penalty in the 43rd minute.
Samp responded immediately though and almost pulled one back through Fabio Quagliarella before Maya Yoshida nodded the away side back into the game from Antonio Candreva’s whipped cross two minutes before half-time.
Juve had lost points from winning positions three times in their first five matches but Locatelli re-established the hosts’ two-goal lead in the 57th minute with his first Juve goal, tapping home Dejan Kulusevski’s pull back.
Home supporters were again worrying about the result though with seven minutes remaining when Candreva met Adrien Silva’s pass with a well taken first-time finish, but that turned out to be the match’s last significant act.
“When you play three games every week, especially in this moment, the mental effort needed is superior to the physical effort,” Allegri told DAZN.
“So this win should give us a moment to relax because it’s our first win at home and we might finish the weekend in the top half of the table. One thing at a time.”
Fiorentina bounced back from midweek defeat to Inter Milan with a battling 1-0 win at Udinese which moved them into fifth on 12 points, four behind league leaders AC Milan.
Promoted Empoli are threatening the European places after beating Bologna 4-2 to win their second match on the bounce and climb up to seventh, while Salernitana remain rooted to the bottom of the league with a single point after losing 1-0 at Sassuolo.
Later on Sunday is the first Rome derby of the season, with Jose Mourinho’s Roma taking on Lazio with the chance to move within one point of Milan, before Napoli host Cagliari aiming for top spot in the day’s late match.