Argentinos Abroad: Dybala & Higuaín strike for Juve, Gio Simeone impresses & Ponce, Mancini, Cabral & Chucky all score in cup competition (VIDEO)

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Champions Juventus ensured that they didn’t lose any further ground on Inter and Napoli at the top of Serie A after a 4-1 win over Spal.

A sensational Federico Bernardeschi volley had already given Juve the lead when Paulo Dybala curled in a beautiful free kick for his eleventh goal of the season after 22 minutes.

 

Spal managed to pull a goal back but Gonzalo Higuaín got the goal that he needed and his efforts in recent weeks deserved to reestablish the home side’s lead. The ball found its way to Pipita at the back post and he made no mistake in rifling it inside the far post.

Juan Cuadrado wrapped up the points to keep Juve three points off the pace of leaders Napoli.

Giovanni Simeone hasn’t had the easiest of starts after his big money move to Fiorentina in the summer but gave the Viola a timely reminder of his talents in Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over Torino.

Having already slipped in Marco Benassi for the opening goal during the first half, Simeone doubled the lead with a sensational finish. Shortly after the hour mark, the 22-year-old took a touch on the edge of the penalty before striking an unstoppable half volley into the top corner. It may only have been Simeone’s third Serie A goal of the season but the young centre forward will be aiming to kick on now.

Diego Perotti finally got his Argentina call-up from Jorge Sampaoli last week and celebrated with the only goal of the game in Roma’s victory over Crotone. Something of a penalty expert, the former Deportivo Morón forward slotted in from the spot after ten minutes for his first of the campaign. Roma remain in fifth, seven points behind Napoli.

In the Copa del Rey, Celta Vigo edged into the next round after a narrow win over Eibar. John Guidetti scored the winner just before half time but it was former Racing defender Gustavo Cabral, who gave Celta the lead. A firm header after only four minutes set the Celestes on track.

France was also gripped by cup fever and in the Coupe de la Ligue, Marcelo Bielsa’s Lille were made to sweat before progressing on penalties against Valenciennes. In what was a rare start for youngster Ezequiel Ponce, the powerful centre forward got his name on the scoresheet with a towering header, only for an injury time equaliser to force the tie beyond 90 minutes. Given Lille’s poor league form Bielsa will be relieved to have avoided a cup exit and may be inclined to give Ponce more of a chance.

Also in France, Ligue 2 strugglers Tours stunned Nantes with a 3-1 win. Former Newell’s Old Boys youngster Daniel Mancini was inspirational and drove into the box to add the second goal after only six minutes. Catching the Ligue 1 club by surprise, Tours were three-up inside 20 minutes and held on for an impressive win.

And finally, in Ukraine, Facundo Ferreyra continued his prolific form for Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring twice in an eventual extra-time cup win over FK Zorya Luhansk. Trailing 2-0, Chucky’s late brace forced the tie beyond normal time and the Ukrainian champions pulled off a 4-3 win. 

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