As Juventus traveled to face Cagliari at Stadio Nereo Rocco on Sunday, they were aware that an away win combined with an AC Milan loss in the Derby della Madonnina would lead to the Juve’s 30th league title. While Antonio Conte’s men battled away to overcome the Rossoblu 2-0 (goals by Vucinic and a Cannini own goal), the Rossoneri stumbled to a 4-2 defeat to their city cousins. As the final whistle blew in Trieste, fans stormed across the pitch to let out all of their accumulated 6-year frustrations and liberated the emotions of a long-awaited (and fully-deserved) title of Campioni d’Italia. Say with us again: CAMPIONI D’ITALIA!!! The Scudetto, at long last, is back in its rightful place!
NOTE: Make sure you don’t miss all our SCUDETTO specials this week:
- PotDs & VotDs: CAMPIONI D’ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ALL celebration videos we could find, including stadium, locker-room, airplane & airport footage!
- Afterthoughts: ★★★ CAMPIONI ★★★ A Few Words
Lars takes a minute to stop and smell the roses, and they smell very VERY sweet!
- VotD(s): SCUDETTO #30 – Players & Staff INTERVIEWS
As the title indicates… (some videos are over 10 minutes long!)
- We Are The Champions! – The Shoutbox – By Fans. For Fans.
How did YOU celebrate the Scudetto? What did you do? Who were you with? Tell us all about it!!
MATCH REVIEW (by Aaron Giambattista)
10 years ago, on the now historic date that has become May 5th 2002, Juventus faced a team in Northeast Italy while Inter played away at Lazio. As the Bianconeri went on to win 2-0 and Inter fell to the Biancocelesti 4-2, the day became known as “IL CINQUE MAGGIO” – a glorious moment in the storia juventina. A decade and a day later, Juventus wrapped up the 30th title of their history with a 2-0 win in Northeast Italy while AC Milan fell “away” to a 4-2 score. History repeats itself.
Before the weekend began, the “cinque maggio” feeling was running rampant through many Juventini worldwide: emotions ran high, fans were full of apprehension, worry, and wonder. Juventus had come through a stunning two-month run while title favorites AC Milan had stumbled. The Old Lady was back into the driver’s seat, but an unexpected draw against Lecce just a few days prior had reminded everyone, in pure Trapattoni-an fashion, to ‘not say cat unless you’ve got it in the bag’.
Juventus fans were ready for the match. The Stadio Nereo Rocco, albeit relatively half-full (due to the extreme ticket prices… most seats left empty were tagged at over €150), was rocking with Black & White supporters with only a few Cagliaritani in sight. The whole stadium thus erupted into a roar, when Leonardo Bonucci fired a Pirlo-esque ball over the defense to Mirko Vucinic. The Montenegrin beat the offside trap and, with virtually no opposition, coolly slotted the ball under Agazzi to make it 1-0 for Juve.
Only a few minutes later, Juventus were dealt a blow as Stephan Lichtsteiner clashed with Mauricio Pinilla on an aerial challenge. The Swiss defender was stretchered off the field, seemingly unconscious after his head whip-lashed into the ground (he would later return unharmed), and was substituted by Martin Cáceres. Feelings of worry among the Juve troops would instantly turn into jubilation however, as moments later word came from Milan that Diego Milito had put Inter 1-0 up on a well-worked set piece. By the 14th minute, Juventus were virtual champions of Italy.
The Bianconeri toiled away in Trieste, continuing to obtain several excellent opportunities. Simone Pepe cut in twice from the left flank leading to well-driven shots on goal (he was denied by Agazzi), while Andrea Pirlo fired in from the distance, won a corner, then hit the outside part of the post on the ensuing set piece. The score remained at 1-0.
Meanwhile in Milano, the Scudetto race was suddenly reopened when AC Milan equalized through a dubious Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty (Julio Cesar had cleanly taken the ball on Boateng) shortly before half-time, and was further thrown into doubt after Ibra gave his team the advantage one minute after the half-time break. The Rossoneri’s two goals seemed to unnerve Juventus, who threatened Cagliari’s goal less and started to pass poorly in midfield. While the Rossoblu never registered a shot on target, they started leading possession and creating problems for the Bianconeri defense.
A second roar soon rolled through the Trieste crowd however: in the 53rd minute of the Madonnina Derby, Diego Milito had scored again to tie the match 2-2. Milan was cut down lagging, Juve re-grabbed their virtual crown. The day only got worse for Milanisti, when pressure from former Rossonero Marco Borriello forced Cagliari defender Michele Cannini into a hasty clearance and spectacular own goal. Juventus were up 2-0 and their win put well beyond doubt.
Minutes later, the Devil collapsed: Diego Milito converted another penalty and was soon followed by Maicon, who scored a top-corner screamer in the 87th minute. 4-2 at San Siro, and true apotheosis for the Juventus crowd: the Scudetto was finally going back to Turin!!
As referee called full-time, the fans jumped over the Nereo Rocco barriers and ran onto the pitch to celebrate with their heroes. For the 30th time in the club’s history, the team finished the season 1st in the table, still undefeated. For the first time in 6 years, a long drought of silverware (added on top of the indignity & injustice of Farsopoli) had come to an end. The Scudetto had come home.
LE PAGELLE (by Aaron Giambattista)
Buffon 6.5 – After his error against Lecce, didn’t look nervous at all. Confident in coming out for the ball, secure in distribution. A calming influence.
Barzagli 6.5 – Nothing passed Andrea the entire match. Capped a tremendous season with another display making defending seem like a walk in the park.
Bonucci 6.5 – Solid tackling & decision-making. Wonderful over-the-top assist to Mirko Vucinic for the first goal. Like De Ceglie in the Spring, Leo has grown immensely in confidence and presence.
Chiellini 6.5 – Battled very physically with Cagliari’s strikers. Had a little more difficulty than Barzagli or Bonucci, but was more involved in the game than the former two.
Lichtsteiner s.v. – Subbed off early due to a very nasty head injury that brought back memories of Pavel Nedved vs. Palermo. Looking unconscious on the pitch (after whipping his head back into the ground) and being carried away on a stretcher made for some very worrying moments for Juve fans, but thankfully Forrest Gump was dismissed from the hospital an hour later and returned in time for the post-final whistle celebrations.
(26′) Cáceres 7 – Came on for an injured player he did a few days ago for De Ceglie, but had a much better game playing on the right-side. Made the cross that Canini inadvertently turned into his own net.
Vidal 5 – This wasn’t Capitan Uncino‘s day. Looked unsettled and never grew into the game. Suffered psychologically perhaps, from the yellow card that got him suspended for Atalanta. Thankfully, Juve clinched the title and won’t have to miss King Arthur’s presence on the field this weekend.
(53′) Giaccherini 6 – Good movement and energy in midfield. Certainly a member that will have a greater impact in this team next season.
Pirlo 6.5 – Pinpoint passing as usual. Another terrific performance from the former Milan maestro, one of the master architects of the Juve Scudetto.
Marchisio 6 – Started the match energetically and took a few shots on goal in the first half. Quieted in the 2nd but still made good forward runs that stretched Cagliari’s defense.
Pepe 6.5 – Recovered from injury, Simone was put on the wing and took his spot with typical gusto. Worked hard, had some good shots, and even offered defensive coverage.
Matri 5 – Restored to the starting lineup after a few weeks out, Ale32 didn’t do anything to convince Conte he’d made the right move. Never in good goalscoring position and didn’t support play very well. Obviously tired and disappointed by his own performance when he was subbed off.
(71′) Borriello 6 – Not on for very long, but had a positive impact. His run towards the near post forced Cannini into the awkward own-goal clearance that meant 2-0 for Juve.
Vucinic 7 – Grabbed a goal with a nice cool finish past Agazzi, and created a few good chances. Not sensational, but a very satisfactory performance.
Conte 8 – We will leave season ratings for another time (for which there’s never been a 10 more deserved). For this match, suffice to say il Mister started proceedings with Vidal & Matri but rapidly understood better options were needed. He made the right subs, and was once again vindicated by trusting Marco Borriello on the pitch. Who’d ever thought we’d write THAT again, huh?
ANALYSIS WRAP-UP (by Aaron Giambattista)
After six years, the title has returned to Turin. And in what fashion! A club icon who’s never coached a full season in Serie A was charged with bringing the club back into the UEFA Champions League. Not only did Antonio Conte fulfill this objective, but he also delivered a league title with an undefeated record, the second time in Italy this was ever achieved.
Some think there’s still a lot of work left to be done. Some say the boys drew too many games, squandered too much possession… that Leonardo Bonucci makes too many mistakes, Alessandro Matri isn’t clinical enough, Simone Pepe not technical, Mirko Vucinic too inconsistent, Paolo De Ceglie not Juventus material, or Del Piero too old to play for this club… Yes, there IS still work to be done and yet, despite all the naysayers, this team’s accomplishment will go down in history as one of the greatest seasons since calcio’s existence.
It’s full credit to Antonio Conte. He transformed a team shattered by seasons of sorrow and disappointment into a confident, powerful juggernaught that dominates and strikes fear into its opponents. Under Ranieri, drawing was the new winning and losing was the new drawing. Under Conte, this team simply does not know how to lose. Losing is unacceptable.
★ ★ ★
To lead a team to an unbeaten season and the best defensive record in league history is no trivial accomplishment. This title was no fluke, and Antonio Conte has shown us a big glimpse of his coaching genius. There is still plenty more to come though. Juventus fans are in euphoria right now, but this is only the beginning of what il Mister will bring us.
ONTO THE COPPA ITALIA. Onto the WORLD!
In Conte We Trust!
|GOALSCORERS: 6′ Vucinic (J), 74′ Canini o.g. (J)
|CAGLIARI (4-3-3): Agazzi – Pisano, Canini, Astori, Ariaudo – Ekdal, Conti, Nainggolan – Ibarbo (15’ Larrivey), Pinilla, Thiago Ribeiro (48′ Cossu). COACH: Ficcadenti.
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Avramov, Perico, Gozzi, Dessena, Cossu, Nené).
|JUVENTUS (3-5-2): Buffon – Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini – Lichtsteiner (26’ Cáceres), Vidal (53′ Giaccherini), Pirlo, Marchisio, Pepe – Matri (71′ Borriello), Vucinic. COACH: Conte. |
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Storari, Estigarribia, Del Piero, Quagliarella).