Pirlo, Juventus cap off record Serie A points season
A stunning Andrea Pirlo free-kick from 35 metres set Juventus up for a 3-0 win over Cagliari and a record 102-point finish as the champions celebrated in style on Sunday.
Juve claimed the Serie A title with two games to spare two weeks ago when closest challengers Roma crashed 4-1 at Catania, a day before Juve added more gloss with a 1-0 home win over Atalanta.
Now with 30 official titles – the club were stripped of ‘scudetti’ won in 2005 and 2006 due to their role in a match-fixing scandal – Juve went on to set two new records last week when a 1-0 win away to Roma gave them a 32nd win of the season and a 99-point tally.
Inter Milan had held the previous record of 97 points for a title-winning season under the current format in 2007.
Juve coach Antonio Conte is expected to remain with the Turin giants despite reports that he is unhappy with a projected lack of investment in players for a fresh assault on the Champions League.
The two-time European champions failed to get past the group stages this season.
He told Sky Sport: “I want to say a massive thank you to all the players, every one of them has been phenonmenal.
“Our objective was to win a third consecutive scudetto, instead we’ve set record after record.”
Asked about his future, Conte added: “Tonight the appointment is to celebrate the title, my appointment with the club will come later.”
Faced with the chance to become the first league champions to claim 100 points or more, Antonio Conte’s men did not disappoint a packed-out Juventus Stadium ahead of their celebratory parade around Turin.
Pirlo helped Juventus get off the mark when he launched a free-kick from distance which came off the post and bounced back into the net after coming off hapless ‘keeper Marco Silvestri, who was later credited with an own goal.
That eased the early nerves and, with Cagliari shell-shocked, Fernando Llorente tapped home a second on the quarter hour when a Pirlo corner was flicked on by Leonardo Bonucci as the visiting defence failed to clear.
Carlos Tevez then spurned the chance to close to within one goal of Serie A’s leading scorer Ciro Immobile, who has 22 goals for Torino, when he was closed down as he prepared to pull the trigger.
Juve, however, were 3-0 to the good before half-time when Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio controlled well in the area to send a volley past Silvestri.
Juventus’s 33rd win of the campaign gave them a 17-point lead over closest challengers Roma, who finished their season with a third consecutive defeat, 1-0 away to Genoa, who had Giannis Fetfatzidis to thank for an 83rd-minute winner.
Roma coach Rudi Garcia, who confirmed he will remain with the club next season when the club return to the Champions League, was asked about Juve’s 102-point record.
“That shows it was a one-off season, something you rarely see,” said the Frenchman.
“Next year will be different.”
Parma, meanwhile, won the battle for the league’s sixth spot, earning themselves a place in next season’s Europa League.
A double from Amauri helped Parma to a 2-0 win over relegated Livorno which ended the hopes of Milan, 2-1 winners at home to Sassuolo, and Torino, who drew 2-2 away to Fiorentina with Alessio Cerci missing a penalty in injury time.
Parma’s 15th win of the campaign mean they finish one point ahead of Torino, in seventh, with Milan in eighth also on 57 points.
Sixth place was good enough to qualify for Europe because Coppa Italia winners Napoli had qualified for the Champions League and Fiorentina, the beaten finalists, were already guaranteed a Europa League place themselves.
Verona suffered a 5-1 rout at Napoli, for whom Duvan Zapata and Dries Mertens scored a double.
Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE
Published: May 19, 2014 04:00 AM