SALERNO, ITALY (AFP) – Dusan Vlahovic scored his first Juventus goals in nearly four months yesterday with a brace in his team’s easy 3-0 win at Salernitana.
Serbia forward Vlahovic set Juve on their way to victory in Salerno when he rifled in a penalty off the post in the 26th minute and then swept in Juve’s third just after half-time.
Filip Kostic tapped in Juve’s second shortly before the break after Vlahovic’s mishit shot fell to his international teammate, helping Juve up to 10th and 12 points off the European positions.
A further point away are Lazio and the Champions League spots, an unlikely target for Juve after last month’s 15-point penalty for illicit transfer activity.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri insisted pre-match that yesterday’s clash was a relegation six-pointer and he continued in that vein after a simple win.
“We need to get another 14 points in order to reach 40 for safety, after that we’ll see… I hope we can be in the top half of the table,” he told DAZN.
Vlahovic’s double broke a club goal duck which stretched back to mid-October, when he struck a last-minute derby winner against Torino.
Since then the 23-year-old has struggled with injuries, only coming back to action in Juve’s home defeat to Monza last time out after playing twice more in October and then underwhelming at the World Cup.
His return was a boost to Allegri who lost Leandro Paredes and Arkadiusz Milik to injury and may not have Paul Pogba back until next week’s Europa League clash with Nantes.
Vlahovic will face his old club Fiorentina on Monday in one of the fieriest fixtures in the Serie A calendar.
“The most important thing was that we won the match after not winning for three matches (in the league),” said Vlahovic to DAZN. “You don’t get back into form without the help of your teammates and manager.”
Salernitana meanwhile have won just once in their last nine matches, losing six, and are seven points above the relegation zone in 16th. Davide Nicola’s side could easily have lost more heavily as Angel Di Maria and Moise Kean both struck the woodwork after Vlahovic put Juve three ahead, and they could yet be sucked deeper towards trouble.
Salernitana travel to Verona next, who sit just inside the drop zone and have only lost once since Marco Zaffaroni took charge during the winter break.