Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Juventus celebrate title with win over Atalanta

JUVE, VIDI, VICI:Monday’s triumph was met with wild celebrations in Turin as the Serie A winners stayed on course to become the first club to collect 100 points

AFP, MILAN

Juventus fans cheer their club on as they play Atalanta BC in a Serie A match at Juventus Stadium on Monday in Turin, Italy.

Photo: AFP

A 72nd-minute strike by Simone Padoin allowed Juventus to celebrate their third consecutive Serie A title with a 1-0 win over Atalanta BC 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 AS Roma crashed 4-1 at relegation-threatened 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.

The victory gave Juve a Serie A-record 31st win of the season and means they have won all 18 of their home games in this campaign.

With two games remaining, the Turin giants have amassed 96 points and remain on course to become the first Serie A side to reach 100.

“To be honest, we always believed we could win the title,” striker Sebastian Giovinco told Sky Sport. “It was difficult to think otherwise, even though Roma have us a good run during the championship. We were really unstoppable and this title is fully deserved.”

Conte added: “It’s a historic title. It wasn’t easy to win a third in succession after two successive seventh-place finishes.”

Carlos Tevez, whose 19-goal tally is two short of Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile of Torino, 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 picked up a knock in the first half and was replaced by Fabio Quagliarella for the second.

Juventus kept dominating, but their next real chance did not come until after the hour when Consigli pulled off a superb double save to deny 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 their Scudetto 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 extra time, but the Argentinian skewed Quagliarella’s square ball wide of the upright.

Earlier on Sunday, SS Lazio captain Stefano Mauri scored a controversial late penalty to salvage a share of the spoils for his side in a 3-3 draw against Hellas Verona that saw both sides drop 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.

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 the Biancocelesti were handed a lifeline in extra 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, 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, leaving them both on 53 points, with Verona in ninth and Lazio in 10th. Torino remain sixth on 55 points, one ahead of Parma and Milan, who are tied on 54.

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