Juventus’ 2-1 reverse to Hellas Verona on Sunday evening brought to an end a 26-match unbeaten streak in Serie A lasting over six months. Their last defeat in Italy’s top flight came all the way back on 28 October at the hands of Sassuolo, the excellent reaction to which had triggered a fine run in which they accrued 76 points en route to an historic fifth successive Scudetto title.
Despite playing far below the usual high tempo which has characterised their record-breaking successes, the Bianconeri had the better of almost all the statistics against the Gialloblu, whether in terms of total shots (16 vs. 12), efforts on target (five vs. four), possession (58.9 vs. 41.1 per cent), pass completion rate (86.1 vs. 75.8 per cent) or 50-50 challenges won (52.4 vs. 47.6 per cent) to name but a few.
Nonetheless, their hosts’ quick counter-attacking game paid dividends on the night as they prevailed in the most important statistic of the evening, namely the scoreline. The result also extends the Old Lady’s winless streak away to Hellas in Serie A to over 15 years when an Alessandro Del Piero penalty took the spoils back to Turin.
This was the first time that Massimiliano Allegri’s men had conceded more than once in the league since 20 December away to Carpi and a special mention goes to the man who opened the scoring at the Stadio Bentegodi. Making his final appearance in an illustrious 20-year-long career involving a 12-month spell at Juve, Luca Toni executed an elegant dink from the penalty spot, his third goal in as many games at home to the champions.
There were a couple of momentous milestones reached by members of Allegri’s side on the night. In tucking away his own spot-kick seconds before full-time, Paulo Dybala notched his 21st goal in all competitions this term, thus equalling Carlos Tevez’s total in his first season in Bianconeri colours.