Juventus bounced back from their surprise loss to Torino last weekend with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina in midweek. But the Serie A leaders had to postpone their title celebrations as Lazio, who are currently in second, romped to a 4-0 win over Parma, keeping the title race alive, at least mathematically.
Despite holding a 14-point lead over Lazio, this was the second time in the space of a few days that Juve failed to close the deal on the Scudetto. But the Turin outfit will have a chance to wrap up their fourth consecutive title this weekend when they face Sampdoria away. Although even if the title is secured, manager Max Allegri has ordered that there be no celebrations until the following weekend.
“It would be better to celebrate on home turf against Cagliari next Saturday,” said the coach to Italian media.
It’s just as well, as Juventus fans are banned from attending this weekend’s match, and Allegri’s team faces the biggest game of its season next Tuesday when it meets Real Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League.
While the Bianconeri have been out of site in Italy for the past four seasons, they’ve had a frustrating time in Europe. Tuesday’s tilt against Real offers a chance for Juve, who last won the competition in 1996, to reassert their continental credentials.
If the title can be secured this weekend, Allegri can devote his full attention to the difficult task ahead of him in Europe. Current Champions League holders, Real Madrid have been strong favorites to retain their continental crown.
Juve’s current superiority over the rest of Italian football means the team is rarely seriously challenged on the domestic front. While the victory was secured against Fiorentina, Allegri’s team was sloppy in possession, gave away two penalties, and was lucky to come away with all three points. Making such mistakes against Fiorentina is one thing but making them against Real Madrid is another.
Allegri will need his players to perform at the top of their ability if they are to have any chance of getting past Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Meanwhile, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba has reportedly come to terms with Paris Saint-Germain and will be joining the Ligue 1 outfit this summer for a transfer fee in the region of $90 million.