Juventus celebrate scudetto by nipping Atalanta
A 72nd minute strike by Simone Padoin allowed Juventus to celebrate their third consecutive Serie A title with a 1-0 win over Atalanta in front of a packed Juventus Stadium on Monday.
Antonio Conte’s side were handed the title without even lacing up their boots on Sunday when closest challengers Roma crashed 4-1 at relegation-haunted Catania.
Conte consequently gave his squad the day off, but any ill effects of their celebrations were well hidden as the Bianconeri dominated throughout to remain unbeaten against the Bergamo-based side since a February 2001 reverse.
With two games remaining – Juve travel to Roma next Sunday and then host Cagliari on the final day of the season – the Turin giants have amassed 96 points and remain on course to become the first Serie A side with a tally of at least 100.
Carlos Tevez, who sits two goals behind Serie A goals leader Ciro Immobile (21), started on the bench for the hosts with Sebastian Giovinco partnering Pablo Daniel Osvaldo up front.
Atalanta came closest to breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes through Giacomo Bonaventura, but only a minute later Osvaldo’s looping header forced Andrea Consigli to stretch and tip over.
Giovinco had picked up a knock in the first half and was replaced by Fabio Quagliarella for the second half.
Juventus continued to dominate but their next real chance did not fall until after the hour when Consigli pulled off a superb double save from Quagliarella then Pogba.
Tevez, who had replaced Osvaldo a minute earlier, picked up the rebound from Pogba’s strike but was well off target.
Padoin finally gave Juve the chance to celebrate the title in style when he beat Atalanta’s Mario Yepes to a loose ball just inside the area.
Tevez should have doubled Juve’s lead late in injury time but the Argentinian skewed Quagliarella’s unselfish square ball wide of the upright.
Earlier, captain Stefano Mauri scored a controversial late penalty to salvage a share of the spoils for Lazio in a 3-3 draw against Verona as both sides dropped points in their race to qualify for the Europa League.
Lazio and Verona are among several teams fighting for three Europa League places on offer this season, the third coming courtesy of the Coppa Italia which Napoli won after defeating Fiorentina 3-1 on Saturday.
Romulo tapped home a low cross from the left to give the visitors a 3-2 lead with seven minutes to play and Verona were given a boost two minutes later when Senad Lulic saw red for a brutal foul on Iturbe.
But Lazio were handed a lifeline in injury time when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Miroslav Klose fell under slight contact from Michelangelo Albertazzi, who was sent off.
Mauri saw his spot-kick saved by Rafel in the Verona net but the Lazio skipper pounced on the loose ball to tap home and secure a share of the points.
The result saved face but did little to help either side’s Europa League bid.
Torino remain sixth on 55 points, with a one-point lead on both Parma – 2-0 winners against Sampdoria – and Milan, who beat Inter 1-0 in the derby on Sunday evening.
Fiorentina, in fourth and already qualified for the Europa League, host relegation-haunted Sassuolo on Tuesday when third-placed Napoli host Cagliari in the hope of cementing their hold on a Champions League place.
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE
Published: May 6, 2014 04:00 AM