Juventus celebrated their third consecutive Serie A title with yet another victory, winning 1-0 at home to Atalanta on Monday evening at Juventus Stadium.
Simone Padoin—playing against his former club—scored the game's only goal in the 72nd minute as the Bianconeri took a figurative victory lap after clinching the Scudetto on Sunday without even playing.
As B/R's Anthony Lopopolo noted via Twitter, the low stakes and relaxed atmosphere made Monday's match feel something like an exhibition:
With the win, Juventus moved on to 96 points, 11 ahead of second-placed Roma with two matches left. Roma lost 4-1 at Catania on Sunday to hand the title to Juve.
The victory also maintained the Bianconeri's 100 percent home record this season. Having won all 18 matches at Juventus Stadium, Antonio Conte's side can finish off a perfect home campaign with a win over Cagliari on the final day of the season.
In addition, Juve can finish with 100 points for the season by claiming at least four over their final two matches.
But while Juve had plenty of reason to celebrate Monday evening, Conte and company will still see room for improvement next season—notably in European competition.
After departing the UEFA Champions League at the group stage earlier this season, Juventus had turned their sights toward playing for the Europa League title in their home stadium in the May 14 final. But that dream ended last week in the semi-finals following a scoreless draw at home to Benfica in the second leg—a result that sent the Portuguese side through to the final.
But according to Conte, the Europa League run will help Juventus grow next season as they seek another league title and greater continental success. As quoted by Football Italia, Conte said:
I watched (the semi-final) back and the sensations I had from the touchline were correct. I am very satisfied with the growth of my team and its consolidation in Europe.
Dropping down into the Europa League helped us to grow, as it was the first time for many in the squad. We still proved we are on a par with the big clubs and have what it takes to challenge in the major competitions.
With the title wrapped up, Juventus rested a number of regular starters as players such as goalkeeper Marco Storari, midfielder Padoin and forwards Sebastian Giovinco and Pablo Dani Osvaldo came into the starting lineup.
Giovinco had the first good chance for the home side, shooting just wide from distance in the fifth minute. In the 26th minute, Osvaldo's looping header—Juve's only shot on target of the first half—was tipped over the bar.
Atalanta also managed just one attempt on target before half-time, Daniele Baselli shooting straight at Storari in the 32nd minute.
With the match still scoreless at half-time, Juventus continued to search for the opening goal after the break. Osvaldo had another opportunity in the 64th minute but volleyed over the bar.
Two minutes later, half-time substitute Fabio Quagliarella saw his shot saved before Pogba, too, was denied on the rebound. Carlos Tevez, who had entered the match moments earlier, then shot off target from the second rebound.
The breakthrough finally came in the 72nd minute as Padoin found the scoresheet against his former club. Giorgio Chiellini started the move, slotting a pass to Pogba, who played the ball on with a clever back-heel. The target appeared to be Tevez, but the Argentine allowed the ball to roll to Padoin, who finished first time off the inside of the far post.
Juve's celebrations were dampered, however, by an injury to Atalanta's Mario Yepes, who collided with Padoin's leg while trying to block the latter's shot. Yepes was stretchered off, with his neck in a brace, in the 77th minute, when he was replaced by Constantin Nica.
Mirroring the first half, Atalanta managed only a single shot on target in the second half, Baselli shooting tamely at Storari in the 87th minute. In stoppage time, Tevez had a chance to double Juve's lead just before the final whistle, but he directed his shot off target.
It mattered little, however, as the celebrations began shortly afterward.
|Juventus Player Ratings|
|Pablo Dani Osvaldo||6||5|
|Fabio Quagliarella (for Giovinco, 46')||N/A||7|
|Carlos Tevez (for Osvaldo, 65')||N/A||6|
|Simone Pepe (for Lichtsteiner, 85')||N/A||6|
|Atalanta Player Ratings|
|Yohan Benalouane (for Luccini, 46')||N/A||6|
|Marcelo Estigarribia (for Raimondi, 64')||N/A||6|
|Constantin Nica (for Yepes, 77')||N/A||6|
Juventus play at Roma on Sunday before finishing the season at home to Cagliari on May 18. Atalanta host AC Milan on Sunday and finish the season at Catania on May 18.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!