Please enable JavaScript to experience the full functionality of mail.com.

Strike force duel: Dygualdo vs. LuLa for Serie A title race

MILAN (AP) — Dygualdo or LuLa? The Serie A title race could come down to a battle between the strike forces of Juventus and Inter Milan. For the second successive match on Wednesday, Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri started with the trident of Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain — the so-called Dygualdo.

Dybala and Ronaldo both scored to help Juventus to a 2-1 victory at Sampdoria, putting the club back atop the Serie A standings. It is up to Inter to respond at home against struggling Genoa on Saturday to ensure it goes into the winter break level on points with Juventus.

And it will look to Romelu Lukaku to lead the way, although he will be without his strike partner — the other half of LuLa — as Lautaro Martínez is suspended. Ronaldo moved level with Lukaku in the scoring charts after his soaring header against Sampdoria took him to 10 league goals this season. Most of them have been scored this month.

The 34-year-old Ronaldo didn’t score during all of November but now has six goals in his past five matches. His goal on Wednesday was the most impressive of the lot. He seemed to hang suspended in the air for a gravity-defying length of time before meeting a cross with a firm header into the roof of the net for the winning goal.

Opposition coach Claudio Ranieri compared Ronaldo to an NBA athlete after the game. So did the player himself, posting photos of the goal on Twitter with the caption “ CR7 AIR JORDAN! ” Ronaldo scored twice in the previous match, although it remains to be seen whether he gets to keep playing with his two attack partners. The only two times Sarri has started with “Dygualdo” was against Udinese and Sampdoria — two sides battling relegation and who have both conceded 27 goals already this season.

However, at times the trio worked so well together that any defense would have struggled. Sarri remained coy about whether he would put out such an attacking formation against better-quality opposition.

“It depends on the physical condition and if the attackers are in a form like the current one,” Sarri said. “The opponent in turn must be evaluated.” Inter will be hoping Lukaku can respond to Ronaldo and Juventus and help end its winless streak.

Antonio Conte’s side has not won its previous three matches and that has seen it slip to second and go out of the Champions League. Moreover, Lukaku hasn’t scored in the league since November.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Sponsored Content