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Juventus Close In On Scudetto As They Edge Out Milan While Fiorentina Hopes For A Champions League Berth – Serie A Wrap

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In what was labelled the biggest match of the weekend, it turned out to be the one of the largest duds of the Serie A season.

Juventus hosted AC Milan in Turin. Entering the match, Milan were just a point above fourth place Fiorentina while Juve had an 11 point lead at the top of the table. If the Bianconeri picked up a victory, then the Rossoneri would be the 19th opponent they’ve defeated in the league (only Sampdoria haven’t lost to the Scudetto holders). If the Milanese side failed to claim all three points, they’d be within one loss of losing the last Champions League spot.

Juventus had the first decent chance of the match. Off an Andrea Pirlo free kick, the attempt was deflected, forcing Christian Abbiati to get back across his line to get a palm to the ball. Luckily for the visitors he was able to get back to the left side of his goal to keep the score line at 0-0. Coach Massimiliano Allegri was forced into an early change in the 15th minute, though. Abbiati picked up a leg injury saving Pirlo’s set piece, meaning backup Marco Amelia had to come in. It was the fifth time in three seasons that the bald shot-stopper had to be substituted because of a knock.

Amelia didn’t have much work to do initially. Moments after he came on, he witnessed Paul Pogba attempting an overhead kick, but flashed wide of the left post. Milan finally got a couple of decent chances after Pogba’s acrobatic skills were displayed. Massimo Ambrosini pounced on a Pirlo error only to drill off target. Robinho then hit the side netting after Mirko Vucinic gave possession away. Nothing more of note was created in the first half.


It wasn’t until the hour mark that something of note occurred in the match. Ignazio Abate let a pass go through which Kwadwo Asamoah chased down in the burst box, but when Amelia rushed off his line, he clattered into the Ghanaian and gave up a clear penalty. Arturo Vidal stepped up and placed a perfect spot kick into the top right corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

The Rossoneri failed to get a reply, gifting Juventus with their sixth victory in a row. What’s more significant is that it ended Milan’s 20 game undefeated streak which stretched back to November. The last time they tasted defeat was against Fiorentina, the team that’s chasing them down in pursuit of the third Champions League birth. They lost 3-1 on November 11th, but have since surged up the table. Now they’re just a point up on the Viola with five matches left.

Other talking points

  • Fiorentina were four points behind heading into the weekend, but won 4-3 in a thriller against Torino. Up 3-0 at one point, Toro fought back. This prompted lots of “This proves we’re not ready for the Champions League” from Viola supporters. Perhaps they’re not, but thanks to Romulo’s late strike, playing in Europe’s premier competition seems a real possibility.
  • Napoli faced a stern challenge when they went up against Cagliari. The Sardinians, through closed stadiums, and a president who’s in trouble with the law, had only lost once in their last 13. That became two defeats in 14 after the Partenopei emerged victorious 3-2. The Neapolitans are still 11 points behind Juventus, but are comfortable sitting in 2nd, meaning Champions League is all but clinched.
  • In the shock of the weekend, Pescara managed a 1-1 draw against Roma. Thanks in large part to goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli. He made five crucial saves and had to face 22 shots from the Giallorossi. The Delfini are all but relegated, but playing the role of spoiler against one of the traditionally big clubs will give them some sense of satisfaction in an otherwise dour campaign.
  • Inter managed to finally win a game. It was a narrow 1-0 victory, but at this point, the Nerazzurri will take three points in any way they can. They lost four of their last six before Sunday, but look certain to be finishing out of the European spots.
  • In the relegation battle, Genoa drew 1-1 to Atalanta. The Grifone are still in the relegation zone, trailing 17th place Siena by a point. Palermo and Catania battled to a similar score line, the Rosanero are also a point away from safety.


Other results: Udinese 1-0 Lazio; Bologna 1-1 Sampdoria; Siena 0-1 Chievo