Juventus claimed a second successive Serie A title with a hard- earned 1-0 victory over relegation- threatened Palermo in Turin on Sunday.
The Bianconeri were not at their best, however, the moment of breakthrough came after Massimo Donati had been penalized for a senseless shove on Marco Vucinic. Arturo Vidal converted the spot kick to put Juventus ahead of Palermo.
The pressure shifted from Juventus and later on in the game, Antonio Conte’s men could have added a second in the closing stages, with Fabio Quagliarella thumping a shot against the bar. Though, Paul Pogba saw red later on for spitting at Santiago Garcia, the one goal was sufficient for the ‘old lady’ to secure a Scudetto that has been Juve’s for the taking for some time now.
Juventus came into the game knowing they required just a draw to clinch the title but played in the manner likened to a team out for a victory.
Earlier into the game, full- backs Stephan Lichsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah took their turn to terrorize the Palermo defense.
Juventus struggled to break through a disciplined Rosanero backline with their meticulous midfielder Andre Pirlo dictating the play. Egidio Arevalo Rios diligently protected Palermo’s defense, repeatedly pilfering possession back for his side during a dynamic display.
However, Lichsteiner pulled Palermo open just before half- hour mark with a wonderfully weighted through ball for lone striker Mirko Vucinic, who held off Massimo Donati well only to then see Stefano Sorrentino save well with his feet.
That near miss failed to lift the Biaconeri, though, a wayward header from Paul Pogba was the best they could muster before the close of a surprisingly ineffective first- half from the host’s perspective.
The home side came into the second half lacking pace and coordination and they were lucky not to have gone a goal behind, five minutes into the second- half when Fabrizio Miccoli found some space in the area and for the first time and very nearly got a goal for the visitors, unleashing a shot that deflected off Giorgio Chiellini but then came back off the base of the right post.
However, just as it looked like Palermo were poised to prolong Juve’s wait for the title, a rush of blood to the head allowed the home side to break the deadlock right out of the blue. Pogba lofted the ball into Vucinic, who, with his back to goal, posed little threat to the Palermo goal. However, Massimo Donati crudely barge into the back of the Montenegrin, for the referee to award a spot kick for Juve.
Vidal calmly rolled home the spot kick, though his task was supported by Sorrentino’s rather bizarre decision to jump ridiculously early.
Juventus took control of the game thereafter and Vucinic nearly doubled the lead in the 66th minute when he connected with Pogba’s chip in behind, but the striker’s volley was well saved by Sorentino.
Quagliarella then rattled off the woodwork with a thumping strike from the edge of the area, just moments after coming on in place of Vucinic, before Pogba was sent off for spitting at Santiago Garcia during an eventful ending to an otherwise dull encounter.
Palermo pushed for an equalizer, but found none, with Juventus holding on quite comfortably to spark wild celebration on the pitch and in the stands.