The Bianconeri signed off a triumphant 2013/14 campaign in style by earning a record-breaking 102-point finish courtesy of this afternoon’s 19th Serie A home victory from 19, celebrated enthusiastically by a capacity crowd basking in glorious May sunshine at Juventus Stadium.
Cagliari were the opponents and Andrea Pirlo, Fernando Llorente and Claudio Marchisio provided the goals on an afternoon where the home faithful paid tribute to the men whose tenacity and commitment have lifted the club to a third successive Scudetto triumph.
Three-nil was the final outcome, with all three coming in the first half, but in truth the scoreline could have been even more emphatic as Juventus set about their opposition with plenty of purpose throughout an entertaining 90 minutes in Turin.
Despite a bright start to proceedings in which Carlos Tevez and Pirlo went close to gaining the lead, Juventus were given an early reminder of Cagliari’s counter-attacking intentions on four minutes when Victor Ibarbo, scorer in last season’s meeting of the sides in Piedmont, brushed past Martin Caceres and tested Buffon with a firm drive that required turning away for a corner.
But the party atmosphere that welcomed the champions on to the field of play was soon reignited courtesy of a trademark Pirlo free-kick, his seventh of the season in all competitions, which cannoned off the back of a helpless Silvestri and rolled over the line to the delight of a capacity crowd on eight minutes.
There was to be further joy for the home supporters when Cagliari failed to adequately deal with Pirlo’s delivery into the box just short of the 15-minute mark, leaving Llorente free to poke home from a matter of yards.
But the Rossoblu, unbeaten at Juventus Stadium since it first opened its turnstiles in September 2011, refused to throw in the towel and thought they had found a way back into the affair when Andrea Cossu teed up Daniele Dessena in the box, only for Buffon to pull off a magnificent save to preserve the Bianconeri’s two-goal advantage.
Back came Juventus, who saw their attacking persistence earn a deserved third goal five minutes ahead of the break, Marchisio showing some delightful control to drag the ball past Dessena before slamming an emphatic finish into the back of the net for his second against the Rossoblu this season.
Further chances came and went for Tevez, Asamoah and Leonardo Bonucci before Mauro Bergonzi, in his last game as a professional referee, blew the whistle for half-time.
Ten minutes into the second period, Antonio Conte granted Rubinho his debut at Juventus Stadium, with the Brazilian shotstopper replacing Gigi Buffon, who subsequently handed the captain’s armband to Marchisio. This was soon followed by the introduction of last week’s matchwinner in Rome, Dani Osvaldo, in place of Llorente.
Whilst clear-cut goalscoring opportunities remained few and far between after the break, Juventus maintained their firm grip on proceedings and had the opportunity to welcome Simone Pepe back for his second Serie A appearance of the season, with Pirlo the man to make way.
At the final whistle, the players were joined by their families and the club’s backroom staff as the curtain officially came down on a season that will remain forever etched in the hearts and memories of all those who adore the black and white stripes.
Three Scudetto titles in a row, and the story continues...