Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 29 November 2020

Cristiano Ronaldo given night off as Juventus crash to defeat, but gets his hands on Serie A title

Sarri says it's good for his players to have 'a little fear' ahead of Champions League match against Lyon after champions lose final game of the season to Roma

Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri says it is good for his players to “have a little fear” ahead of their Champions League assignment next week after ending their Serie A campaign with a 3-1 defeat at home to Roma.

With Juve already crowned champions and nothing to play for, star striker Cristiano Ronaldo was rested, affording Gonzalo Higuain the chance to spearhead the attack against fifth-placed Roma.

The Argentina international opened the scoring after just six minutes in the Allianz Stadium but Diego Perotti inspired a Roma fightback, setting up Nikola Kalinic to nod in the equaliser after 23 minutes.

Perotti converted from the penalty spot just before the break and added a second six minutes into the second half to inflict a third defeat in four matches for Sarri’s side.

The team later lifted the trophy at an empty Allianz Stadium as they celebrated winning the 'Scudetto' for the 36th time.

It was Juventus's second consecutive defeat since sealing a ninth Serie A title in a row, just days before their Champions League campaign resumes against Lyon.

"It can be good for us to have a little fear," said Sarri as his side target a first elite European title since 1996.

"We had an unconscious, inevitable drop after the victory against Lazio.

"The physical energy can be recovered quickly, the psychological one must be reassured immediately, in order to give everything against Lyon."

Sarri's side need to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit in their last 16 home game against Lyon.

"I am convinced that the game on Friday will be a great stimulus, and that we'll go on to the pitch with a completely different attitude," added the former Chelsea and Napoli coach.

Inter Milan took second place with a 2-0 win over direct rivals Atalanta in Bergamo, finishing the season just one point behind Juventus.

Danilo D'Ambrosio nodded in Inter's first goal after just one minute with Ashley Young doubling their lead after 20 minutes with a stunning curling shot to boost confidence ahead of next week's Europa League tie against Getafe.

Antonio Conte saw his side sign off their Serie A campaign with a 2-0 win over rivals Atalanta. Reuters
Antonio Conte saw his side sign off their Serie A campaign with a 2-0 win over rivals Atalanta. Reuters

Despite their runner-up finish, Inter coach Antonio Conte said the club failed to back him and his players in the face of criticism.

"I don't think the work of the players has been recognised and I don't think my work has been recognised," said the Italian. "We all received very little protection from the club, absolutely zero.

"We have to grow and improve in all areas, including off the field, and a big club should protect its players more. We’ll discuss it all at the end of the season - I have to meet the President [Steven Zhang] and he’s in China right now."

Atalanta's 17-match unbeaten league run going back to January 20 ended.

But coach Gian Piero Gasperini said it was the best preparation for their Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

"This game with Inter gave us a nice wake up call, it was the best thing that could have happened to us," he said.

"It was the best game we could find in anticipation of the Champions League.

"In the last few weeks we have played more confident football, taken our foot off the gas a little, but tonight we have understood that you cannot play like that against this type of team, and it will be the same with the PSG."

Lazio's Ciro Immobile celebrates scoring against Brescia at Stadio Olimpico. EPA
Lazio's Ciro Immobile celebrates scoring against Brescia at Stadio Olimpico. EPA

Lazio finished fourth, equal on points with Atalanta, having been pushing for the title just one point behind Juventus when the season resumed on June 20.

Simone Inzaghi's side fell 3-1 to Napoli but forward Ciro Immobile scored his 36th goal of the season to equal the record for the most goals in a Serie A campaign.

The 30-year-old Italy international tapped in after 22 minutes to match Argentina forward Higuain's record of 36 goals, set while playing for Napoli in the 2015/16 season.

Immobile will also win the European Golden Shoe for the continent's top scorer this term, having overtaken Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski's tally of 34 in midweek.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores against Cagliari at San Siro. EPA
AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores against Cagliari at San Siro. EPA

Napoli warmed up for their Champions League last 16 second leg game over Barcelona with a win, but lost captain Lorenzo Insigne, who scored on the night, to injury.

In the San Siro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty but scored his 10th league goal since January as AC Milan finished in sixth place with a 3-0 win over Cagliari.

The season concludes on Sunday with Lecce and Genoa playing Parma and Hellas Verona respectively hoping to avoid joining Brescia and SPAL down in Serie B.

Genoa, in 17th, are just one-point ahead of Lecce, who occupy the final relegation berth.

Updated: August 2, 2020 08:34 AM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email