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Sunday, Sep 22, 2019

All over as Old Lady sings

Juventus completed the recovery from its darkest period, after the 2006 match-fixing scandal, by claiming its first Serie A title in nine years. Fixtures

sports Updated: May 08, 2012 02:14 IST


Juventus completed the recovery from its darkest period, after the 2006 match-fixing scandal, by claiming its first Serie A title in nine years.

The Bianconeri won their 28th league title Sunday when they defeated Cagliari, 2-0, to stay unbeaten and second-place AC Milan lost, 4-2, to Inter Milan in the next-to-last round of the season. Juventus, also known as the 'Old Lady' is four points ahead of Milan.

It has been a long road since the 2005 and 2006 titles were stripped from Juventus and it was relegated to Serie B, but under the young coach Antonio Conte, one of Italy's oldest clubs proved it was back to its best.

It is a fitting end to the Juventus career of the legendary striker Alessandro Del Piero, who is leaving the club at the end of the season. Del Piero has spent almost his entire career at Juventus after signing from Padova in 1993, and he stuck by the club when it was relegated.

Dream farewell
Del Piero can complete a dream farewell campaign by helping Juventus to the double in the Italian Cup final against Napoli on May 20.

"Today we are celebrating a title that everyone deserved, and I am happy to have contributed," Del Piero said. "I start every year to win. Sometimes it doesn't happen, but what happened today rewards me for so many years, starting from 2006. In two weeks, we have another game we want to win.

"I've experienced my story here. I just want to smile, and that's it. There's time to talk about the rest. This title has even more value also because of the year we spent in Serie B."

Conte played for Juventus the last time it won the league officially. He spent 13 years with the Bianconeri, winning five league titles before retiring in 2004.

The debate over whether it is Juventus's 28th or 30th title is set to run and run. Conte refused to be baited on the subject, saying: "It's the first for me. It's the first that I've won as a coach." Conte became Juventus coach in the offseason, after achieving promotion from Serie B with Siena. The 42-year-old has enjoyed an incredible season in charge, and Juventus could cap it by becoming only the second team to win the title without losing a game. AC Milan did it under Fabio Capello in 1992.

Milan, the defending champion, had the chance to take the title race to the last game of the season, but a hat trick from Diego Milito — including two penalties — gave Inter a victory in a thrilling and contentious derby match.

Udinese is now in position to claim the third spot after they beat Genoa, 2-0, and Napoli lost by the same score at Bologna.

First Published: May 07, 2012 23:55 IST