Juventus forward Higuain scoring again ahead of Roma match
FILE - "I didn't miss scoring."-- Gonzalo Higuain (AP Photo)
DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press
MILAN (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain's return to form couldn't have come at a better time.
The Juventus forward scored twice in Sunday's 3-1 win at Torino — after having scored only once in the previous eight matches. And with the league leaders next facing second-place Roma on Saturday, Higuain's goal-scoring touch will be in demand again.
"I didn't miss scoring," Higuain said. "It was an outside problem, but not for me. I was always relaxed and calm."
Higuain, however, has struggled at times since joining Juventus for an Italian-record 90 million euros ($100 million) after scoring a Serie A record 36 goals for Napoli last season.
Higuain's goals have come at the same time as the return from injury of Paulo Dybala. Five of the eight matches before Dybala's injury were decided by goals from the two Argentines.
Dybala came on for the final 20 minutes of the derby against Torino, when the score was still 1-1, and changed the match.
Meanwhile, Roma striker Edin Dzeko hasn't had any problems scoring. The Bosnia and Herzegovina forward has scored 12 goals in Serie A this season — four more than he netted in 31 appearances in his debut campaign, and three more than Higuain.
"Both of them know how to play," Roma midfielder Diego Perotti. "They don't just sit in the area waiting for the ball. They go in the middle, track back to get the ball. They know how to provide assists. They are two complete footballers, among the best in the world."
Dzeko has also drawn praise from the man tasked with stopping him on Saturday — Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
"Right now Dzeko is their most dangerous player," Buffon said. "He's slotted into (Roma coach Luciano) Spalletti's playing system very easily and evidently understands it to perfection, judging by their results.
"He probably just needed a bit of time. Dzeko's past career speaks volumes, just as his current form does."
Buffon also praised Roma captain Francesco Totti. The veteran pair — Totti turned 40 in September and Buffon will be 39 next month — played together many times for Italy and won the World Cup in 2006.
"You can't take anything away from Francesco. He has the same class as when he started playing, in fact I think he's even better in some aspects," Buffon said. "He's an icon for the team and for the city of Rome."