Juventus clinch seventh Serie A title in a row; Lazio miss out on Champions League spot
Juventus, who won a record 34th Serie A title, maintained their perfect domestic record in their four seasons under Massimiliano Allegri, who also won a Serie A title with AC Milan in 2011.football Updated: May 14, 2018 09:32 IST
Juventus wrapped up their seventh successive Serie A title, and their fourth league and cup double in a row on Sunday with a pragmatic 0-0 draw away to AS Roma in the style that has become their hallmark under Massimiliano Allegri.
Rivals Napoli, the neutrals’ favourites thanks to their more flamboyant approach, won 2-0 at Sampdoria and set a new club points record but it was all in vain as they were left four points behind Juve with one game left.
Napoli, whose match was briefly interrupted in the second half because of anti-Neapolitan chants by home supporters, will finish as runners-up for the second time in three seasons under chain-smoking coach Maurizio Sarri.
Juventus, who won a record 34th Serie A title, maintained their perfect domestic record in their four seasons under Allegri, who also won a Serie A title with AC Milan in 2011. They have also reached two Champions League finals in that period.
Allegri often talks about the importance of “administering the game” and that was exactly what Juventus did as they coasted home, doing the absolute minimum required of them.
Third-placed Roma, already qualified for next season’s Champions League, took the initiative and looked dangerous, although Edin Dzeko, Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini all missed the target.
Paulo Dybala had the ball in the net two minutes after halftime but he was fractionally offside. Roma were reduced to 10 men when Nainggolan, already booked, was sent off for an ugly foul on Dybala in the 68th minute and the game petered out.
Napoli’s Arkadiusz Milik and Raul Albiol scored second-half goals to secure three points at the Marassi stadium but their chances had already gone with a 3-0 loss at Fiorentina and 2-2 draw against Torino in their previous two games.
The referee stopped the game during the second-half because of the chanting by fans -- officially termed “territorial discrimination” -- and Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero came onto the pitch and appealed for it to stop.
Juventus have 92 points from 37 games with Napoli on 88 -- two more than their previous best -- Roma 74, Lazio 72 and Inter Milan 69.
Lazio missed a chance to clinch the fourth and final Italian place in next season’s Champions League group stage when they were held to a 2-2 draw at relegation-threatened Crotone, handing a lifeline to Inter Milan who lost 2-1 at home to Sassuolo on Saturday.
Inter visit Lazio for their final game next Sunday and a win will lift them into fourth place on their head-to-head record.
Senad Lulic put Lazio ahead with a penalty in the 17th minute, then Crotone hit back through Simy and Federico Ceccherini before a brilliantly-taken goal by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic rescued a point for Lazio six minutes from fulltime.
Crotone, 18th in the 20-team table, were pushed into the final relegation spot with 35 points after Cagliari (36 points) climbed out of the danger zone with a 1-0 win at Fiorentina thanks to Leonardo Pavoletti’s goal in the 37th minute.
Fiorentina’s frustration boiled over when Jordan Veretout was sent off for lashing out at Joao Pedro, sparking an ugly brawl on the touchline.
SPAL lost 2-1 at Torino and are level on points in 17th place with Crotone but lead on their head-to-head record. Verona and Benevento have already been relegated.
First Published: May 14, 2018 08:51 IST