Juventus were crowned Serie A champions on Monday for the fifth season in a row, without needing to kick a single ball to justify popping the corks on the bubbly.
Late Winner for Roma Seals Title for Juve
An 89th minute goal from Roma’s Radja Nainggolan that lifted the Giallorossi to a 1-0 win over Napoli was enough to seal the Scudetto for Juventus. Napoli, who had been the only team mathematically still capable of overhauling Juve, saw that possibility evaporate following a frustrating 90 minutes at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Despite dominating possession and putting twice as many shots on goal as Roma, the Azzurri were held scoreless. After 80 minutes of deadlock, it looked as if the match was heading for a 0-0 draw. But then Francesco Totti was brought off the bench for Roma.
As he has so often been of late, the veteran striker proved the difference-maker for Luciano Spalletti’s team. Although the captain wasn’t credited with a goal or an assist, his pass to Mohamed Salah was instrumental in setting up Nainggolan’s late winner.
The win lifted Roma to within two points of Napoli in second, consolidating the capitol club’s hold on third place and a spot in the Champions League next season.
Juventus Achieve Historic Title Success
Juventus meanwhile, have now become the first club to win five consecutive Scudetti for the second time in their history. The last time the Bianconeri achieved the feat was in 1935. Only two other clubs in Italian top-flight football have managed five consecutive titles: Torino from 1942 –1949 (two seasons were cancelled due to WWII), and Internazionale Milan from 2005–2010.
Frustration for Napoli
Despite being headed toward a top-three finish and a spot in the Champions League, this season is bound to end in frustration for Napoli. With Gonzalo Higuain topping the Serie A goal-scoring charts and Juventus faltering earlier in the season, it looked for a good while as if Napoli were heading for their first title since they won it with Diego Maradona back in 1990.
But a run of 24 wins from 25 matches for Juve that coincided with a run of mixed results for Napoli, which ironically began with a 1-0 loss to Juventus back in February, saw Napoli’s title hopes gradually slip away. Further complicating matters for Napoli, was Higuain being slapped with a four-match ban (later reduced to three) at a crucial point in the season.
While the title is decided, Roma and Napoli will continue to fight it out for second place and automatic qualification into next season’s Champions League.
Both teams will be in action on Monday, May 2, as Roma take on Genoa and Napoli take on Atalanta. You can catch both games on BeINSports.