Juventus clinch eighth Serie A title in a row

Sunday, 2019-04-21 07:23:01
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Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri celebrates winning the league after the match with team mates. (Reuters)
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Juventus overcame their European blues when they fought back to beat Fiorentina 2-1 at home on Saturday and claim the Serie A title for a remarkable eighth season in a row.

Knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, Juventus fell behind to a Nikola Milenkovic goal in the sixth minute and survived two Federico Chiesa shots against the woodwork before halftime.

But an Alex Sandro header and a German Pezzella own goal either side of the break wrapped up a record-extending 35th scudetto crown and allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to add to the English and Spanish titles he won with Manchester United and Real Madrid at the first attempt.

Juve's 28th win in 33 league games this season left them with 87 points, 20 more than second-placed Napoli who have six games to play. They are the first team to win any of Europe's top five leagues - England, Spain, France, Italy and Germany - eight times in a row.

Ronaldo, scorer of 19 goals in the campaign, said: "I'm really happy to have won the Italian title in my first season here. It has been a great season for this Juventus, we also won the Italian Supercup. We didn't do so well in the Champions League but there is always next year."

However, it still had the air of the consolation prize after their failure to progress in the Champions League which they had high hopes of winning following the signing of Ronaldo in July.

Juventus have won Europe's premier club competition twice, compared to seven times for AC Milan and Inter Milan's three.

The Turin side appeared to be suffering the after-effects of Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat by Ajax, when they were outclassed by the Dutch side, in the opening half hour.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after Fiorentina's Germsan Pezzella scores an own goal and the second for Juventus. (Reuters)

Fiorentina were without a win in their previous eight Serie A games but Milenkovic put them ahead, firing into the roof of the net from close range after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny diverted Chiesa's cross into his path.

Chiesa curled a shot against the post as Juventus continued to struggle before Sandro came to the rescue as he got away from the Fiorentina defence to score with a low near-post header from a corner in the 37th minute.

Juventus had another escape before halftime as Chiesa rattled the underside of the crossbar with a rasping drive.

But a moment of brilliance from Ronaldo ended Juve's suffering as the Portuguese forward produced a devastating burst of speed to reach the byline and his low cross was turned into his own goal by Fiorentina defender Pezzella.

Juve's total of 35 Serie A titles is nearly double the number won by nearest rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan who have 18 apiece.

Ivan Perisic headed a second-half equaliser to rescue a 1-1 Serie A draw for Inter Milan at home to AS Roma on the same day in a key game in the battle for Champions League places.

AC Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at Parma in Serie A after veteran defender Bruno Alves scored with a majestic free kick for the midtable hosts with three minutes left.

Reuters