SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 38 - 13 May 2012 (14.00 UK)
Juventus 3 - 1 Atalanta
Marrone 9 (J), Del Piero 27 (J), Lichtsteiner og 83 (A), Barzagli pen 90 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Juventus ended the campaign unbeaten and with Alessandro Del Piero on target for his emotional farewell, but Giorgio Chiellini picked up an injury.

The Bianconeri kicked off their Scudetto celebrations, which would continue after the game with the trophy presentation and an open-topped bus driving through the streets of Turin. There was also sadness in the air, as Del Piero wore the captain’s armband for the last time in a Serie A match. Paolo De Ceglie was injured and Arturo Vidal suspended, but Coach Antonio Conte gave rare starts to Marco Storari, Luca Marrone, Marcelo Estigarribia and Simone Padoin.

They hoped to make history by becoming only the second team ever to win the Scudetto by going unbeaten. The other was Fabio Capello’s Milan in 1991-92, but that was a 34-round campaign. Atalanta were already safe from the drop, though Guglielmo Stendardo was suspended with Matteo Brighi, Guido Marilungo, Daniele Capelli and Andrea Consigli sidelined.

In the opening minutes Storari had his palms stung by a German Denis bullet header, but it was Juventus who broke the deadlock with one of their youngsters.

Marco Borriello’s backheel flick set up Luca Marrone for a screamer from just within the box that ricocheted in off the inside of the near post. It was the youth product’s debut Serie A goal on his fifth appearance.

Simone Padoin robbed a defender and had time to shoot from seven yards, but opted to roll across for a crowded-out Del Piero instead and the chance went begging.

Naturally, Del Piero had to score at the Juventus Stadium on his last game! It was a well-taken strike, exchanging passes with Emanuele Giaccherini to drill in from the D. There were moving scenes as he was enveloped by teammates for his 289th goal in a Bianconeri jersey, the 188th in Serie A.

Denis had the opportunity to pull one back after dribbling past two defenders, but blasted over with only Storari to beat.

After the restart Borriello’s angled drive was well held after he showed his strength to shrug off challenges.

There was a standing ovation from the fans as Del Piero was substituted, receiving hugs from all his teammates and keeping his cool in what was a hugely emotional occasion. The captain did not shed a tear, but many fans in the Juventus Stadium did and he walked round the edge of the pitch picking up the many scarves thrown from the stands. After 10 minutes of walking round, the tears finally formed in his eyes.

Meanwhile, Atalanta hit the upright as Simone Bonaventura’s strike was fingertipped on to the woodwork by Storari.

Stephan Lichtsteiner accidentally put the ball in his own net to give Atalanta a chance to get back into the game, prodding Bellini’s cross in from four yards when trying to clear.

Soon after, Giorgio Chiellini seemed to over-stretch and could well have suffered a groin strain. He limped off the field in tears and this could be a serious injury, perhaps one that could rule him out of Euro 2012.

In the final minute Juventus were awarded a penalty for Stefano Lucchini’s handling offence, which was fired under the bar by Andrea Barzagli.


Juventus: Storari; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini (Barzagli 89), Estigarribia (Quagliarella 66); Marrone, Pirlo, Padoin; Giaccherini, Borriello, Del Piero (Pepe 57)
Atalanta: Frezzolini; Bellini, Lucchini, Manfredini, Peluso; Schelotto (Minotti 52), Carmona, Cazzola (Cigarini 82), Bonaventura; Moralez (Gabbiadini 52); Denis
Ref: Gava