Juventus rounded off their 33rd Scudetto-winning Serie A campaign with this evening’s 2-2 draw against Hellas Verona at the Bentegodi.
A hard-fought but ultimately unspectacular first-half came to life when Roberto Pereyra picked out the top corner with an incredible effort on 42 minutes, his second in as many league matches against the Gialloblu.
The hosts drew level soon after the break as Luca Toni rounded off a swift counter-attack with a crisp finish but the Bianconeri promptly edged their noses back in front, Fernando Llorente tapping home after having the ball cut back into his path by Simone Padoin.
Juventus had a golden opportunity to rubber stamp all three points in the dying stages, only for Carlos Tevez to see his penalty saved by Rafael, leaving Verona to go straight up down the other end and snatch an injury-time equaliser through the same man who levelled matters in last year’s corresponding fixture, Juanito Gomez.
One of the main threads of interest in the run-up to the game was the duel between two of the three frontrunners for this season’s Serie A top goalscorer title: Toni, on 21, and Tevez, one behind on 20. Both had opportunities to open the scoring inside the first 10 minutes, Toni miscuing his effort under pressure from Gigi Buffon and the Argentine sending a low strike straight into the hands of Rafael.
Verona showed greater adventure going forward during the opening quarter of the encounter but Juventus did have a few chances of their own, Claudio Marchisio volleying into the ground and over the bar from a promising position after receiving Tevez’s knockdown.
Just past the half-hour mark the intensity edged up a notch, with chances in quick succession for both sides. First Emil Halfredsson did brilliantly to send in a cross from the byline in the direction of Toni, whose touch took the ball just past the post, before Llorente rattled the woodwork with a terrific shot on the volley moments later.
If Gialloblu shotstopper Rafael had been rescued by his crossbar for Llorente’s effort, there was little he could do three minutes before the break when Pereyra cut inside and bent an incredible 25-yard strike into the top corner, giving Juventus the advantage at the midway point.
It took the hosts just a few second-half minutes to draw level. A quick counter-attack, led by a spirited Halfredsson burst forward, saw the ball worked into the path of Toni, who dispatched a clinical strike beyond Buffon.
Juventus, however, were in no mood to sit back and regained their lead on 57 minutes. A wonderful Andrea Pirlo dink into the box picked out Padoin, whose cut-back from the byline presented Llorente with a simple finish.
As the game edged towards its conclusion, the visitors were awarded a penalty with two minutes remaining when Rafael Marquez upended Llorente into the box. But just as it seemed that Tevez was all set to wrap up all three points, Rafael pulled off a strong save to deny the Argentine from 12 yards.
This galvanised the hosts and, after second-half substitute Simone Pepe was shown a straight red for his challenge from behind on Mattia Valoti, they secured a share of the spoils when Juanito rose highest at the far post to hold the Bianconeri to a 2-2 draw at the Bentegodi for the second year in succession.