The Bianconeri were held 1-1 by Atalanta in their final home match of the season, after Mario Mandzukic cancelled out Josep Ilicic’s first-half opener, but the evening was about so much more than the game itself.
WHAT A NIGHT AT ALLIANZ STADIUM!
Andrea Barzagli was given a warm send-off before kick-off. Club president Andrea Agnelli presented the retiring defender with a commemorative plaque and an additional surprise: his shirt will be put on display in the Juventus Museum, even though he did not reach the necessary 300 club appearances. Also on hand to congratulate his former team-mate was Gianluigi Buffon, while Aaron Ramsey was in the stands, getting a first look at his new home. Massimiliano Allegri was passionately applauded by the home support, in what was a lengthy and deserved tribute to the outgoing coach. During the half-time interval, Juventus Women were presented with their second consecutive Scudetto title. Amidst all the emotion and celebration there was a game to be played, and it was a toughly fought one at that. With Atalanta gunning for Champions League football next season, they proved predictably tricky opponents.
ILICIC GIVES ATALANTA THE LEAD
With less than one minute on the clock, Cristiano Ronaldo spurned a golden chance to give the Bianconeri a flying start. After some good work from Juan Cuadrado and a touch from Emre Can, the attacker was free in front of goal but put his first-time shot over the bar. Atalanta meanwhile threatened in the first period through Remo Freuler, who forced Wojciech Szczesny into a save with an effort from outside the box, and Duvan Zapata, who went close with an angled effort on the half-hour mark. The away side’s pressure eventually paid dividends. A corner from the right found its way through a muddle of bodies to reach an unmarked Ilicic, who had the simple task of side-footing home at the back post.
STANDING OVATION FOR BARZAGLI
In the second half Juventus were more aggressive in their approach and were more in control of proceedings. With Joao Cancelo moving to the left and Cuadrado dropping into the right-back role, after Federico Bernardeschi replaced Alex Sandro, the Bianconeri sent crosses into the box in their bid to draw level. Ronaldo almost converted one with a right-foot volley, which went just wide. With his side still trailing, Allegri sent on an added goal threat in the form of Mario Mandzukic, who came on in place of Barzagli, with the defender treated to a fervent ovation from the home support.