Remarkable feat

Published : May 17, 2012 00:00 IST

Officially, this was Juventus' 28th title, an Italian record. Yet, Juve players and officials were quick to bring up the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal which resulted in them being stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles.

Italian giant, Juventus, ended a nine-year long wait, crowning itself the champion, after a 2-0 win away from home, against Cagliari. The victory gave the Turin-based side an unassailable four-point lead with one round of fixtures to go. The only club which could have toppled it, AC Milan, lost 4-2 to city rival Inter Milan at the San Siro stadium, bringing an end to the title race.

The Milan derby featured three penalties, a hat-trick for Inter's Argentine forward Diego Milito and a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Officially, this was Juventus' 28th Serie A title, an Italian record. Yet, Juve players and officials were quick to bring up the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal which resulted in them being stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles. “It's our 30th Scudetto,” Juventus sporting director Giuseppe Marotta said. “We have 30 on all the champagne bottles and we have won 30 titles.”

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, one of several players who went down to Serie B when Juventus was demoted as a result of Calciopoli, joined in the debate. “I won five titles on the field although they have only awarded me three of them, well, what can I do about it?” he said. The veteran Italian international has had a superb season, rediscovering the form which made him one of the world's top goalkeepers as Juventus was revitalised in the first season under the leadership of its former midfielder Antonio Conte.

Mirko Vucinic gave Juventus the lead in the sixth minute after marginally beating Cagliari's offside trap, before slotting it in between goalkeeper Michael Vucinic's legs. The result was put behind doubts when Cagliari's Michele Canini put one through his own net with 16 minutes remaining in the clock.

La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) now has the chance to end the season unbeaten if it avoids defeat against Atlanta in the final round and beats Napoli in the Italian Cup final on May 20, setting up another Italian record. The title triumph was extra special for Italian and Juve legend Alessandro Del Piero, who will quit the club at the end of the season after spending two decades there, scoring over 200 goals in more than 500 appearances.


Brazilian winger Nene scored one and created two more and helped Paris Saint-Germain to secure all three points away against Valenciennes. The win from behind puts the high-spending Paris side at the top of the League table on goal difference with two more rounds to play. Montpellier, level on points, however has a game more on hand.

PSG's shaky defence was exposed again when it trailed 2-0 inside 11 minutes, both goals resulting from poor marking. Nene pulled a goal back four minutes later, and set up Maxwell for the equaliser and then provided Jeremy Menez to score the fourth.

Valenciennes took the lead as early as the eighth minute. A long ball over the top to striker Vincent Aboubakar landed in between central defender Alex and left-back Maxwell, with neither reacting quickly enough. Alex moved across too late and Aboubakar had time to turn and shoot low past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. Maxwell was exposed again as Aboubakar was given too much space and, although Sirigu saved his effort, the ball fell for Remi Gomis to tap in for 2-0.

“We started really badly and it took that second goal for us to get back in the game,” PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said. But Valenciennes defended even more poorly and left gaps everywhere, thus allowing PSG to creep back into the game.

Elsewhere, Lyon conceded a second-half equaliser in a 1-1 home draw to Brest that almost certainly ends its chances of qualifying for the Champions League. Lyon had been a regular in the Champions League in winning seven consecutive French titles until Bordeaux ended the run in the 2008-09 season.

Compiled by Ayon Sengupta

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