Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy. Champions of Italy.
It’s almost a paragraph in itself to write it out eight times, although it’s certainly not the case of stretching anything thin. To shout it eight times in a row risks losing your voice, but it’s worth it. This is the minimum that this fantastic team deserves after yet another trophy: they’re simply #W8NDERFUL, as the celebratory hashtag superbly sums up. Faced with the task of needing just one point to secure the title, Juve went ahead and took all three, following a struggle that made the triumph even more sweet to savour.
AN UPHILL STRUGGLE TO START
The game got off to a bad start for Juve, after Federico Chiesa worked his way to the by-line in the sixth minute and drove a low cross into the area that Wojciech Szczesny touched on to Nikola Milenkovic. With the goal gaping, the Serb gave the Viola an early lead, which could have been doubled shortly afterwards had Kevin Mirallas not shot over following a Chiesa-led counterattack or had Leonardo Bonucci failed to intercept Giovanni Simeone’s final ball and stop another Tuscan break in its tracks.
CHIESA HITS THE POST
Juve weren’t prepared to let themselves be run over, although the players seemed a little frantic, almost shocked by conceding so early. Federico Bernardeschi had the first shot of note in the 20th minute, his deflected effort striking the outside netting. Miralem Pjanic and Cristiano Ronaldo followed that up with long-range shots, but Alban Lafont was well placed for both. Fiorentina still looked like the more likely side to score again, as Chiesa hit the post from the edge of the area.
ALEX SANDRO EQUALISES
The Bianconeri kept at it, upped the pressure and were eventually rewarded. In the 37th minute, Alex Sandro met Pjanic’s corner at the front post. At the moment of contact, the Brazilian actually had his back to goal, but his ingenious twisting diving header found a gap between post and goalkeeper, drawing the scoreline level.
CHIESA HITS THE BAR
It was obvious to all that more was needed, as the Viola refused to back down. Chiesa unleashed a dipping left-footed effort that cannoned down off the bar but, luckily for the Bianconeri, not over the line. The team headed in at half-time with the score at 1-1 and aware there’d be another 45 minutes’ worth of hard work.
INJECTION OF PACE FROM CR7, OWN GOAL BY PEZZELLA
However, it became quickly clear that the sparkle shown by the visiting side in the first half had dulled somewhat and Ronaldo was quick to take advantage. The Portuguese received a ball from Joao Cancelo on the right wing in the 53rd minute and set off, leaving his marker floundering in his wake before attempting to pick out Bernardeschi with a low cross. German Pezzella made an attempt to prevent the ball from reaching the former Fiorentina star but in doing so could only divert it into his own net.
CONTROL AND TRIUMPH
Fiorentina had lost their compactness and Juve looked more assured and comfortable. The Bianconeri started to play much further up the pitch, pinning the Viola back in their half. Ronaldo and Juan Cuadrado both saw efforts from decent positions saved in the space of a few seconds, before Lafont touched over a shot by Pjanic from the 18-yard line. The Bosnian was soon after replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur, while Fiorentina’s most dangerous player Chiesa made way for Luis Muriel. Half an hour into the second half, Moise Kean came on for Bernardeschi. By this point, the tempo had dropped and Juve were in control, running down the clock while in possession. When the final whistle came, it heralded another Scudetto triumph, our eighth in a row and yet another piece of silverware for this unforgettable Juventus side.