Juventus became Serie A champions for the eighth successive season by beating Fiorentina 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Success looked a formality for much of the campaign for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, as they were once more far and away the best team in Italy and Napoli could not exert as much pressure as last term.
Just two league defeats – Cristiano Ronaldo was rested in last weekend’s loss to SPAL and also when they lost their unbeaten run at Genoa in March – meant Napoli’s hopes of clawing back a double-figure deficit had long since disappeared.
Allegri’s side clinched the Scudetto with five matches to play, levelling the record for the fastest title triumph in Serie A history since three points were first awarded for a win in 1994-95.
Omnisport examines the key results in their journey to glory.
August 18: Chievo 2-3 Juventus – Ronaldo’s difficult debut
For a while, Ronaldo’s Serie A bow following a €112million move from Real Madrid looked set to go horribly wrong, as hosts Chievo – who started the season as favourites for the drop – took a 2-1 lead just after half-time back in August. A Mattia Bani own goal 15 minutes from time drew Juve level, though a late winner looked set to desert them when a Ronaldo handball saw VAR rule out a Mario Mandzukic goal. Nevertheless, Federico Bernardeschi won the game in stoppage time to spare the new man’s blushes and rescue the champions.
September 29: Juventus 3-1 Napoli – Old Lady make an early statement
It quickly became apparent that, much like last season, if any team was to challenge Juve for the Serie A title it would be Napoli. But their meeting in Turin in September highlighted the gulf between them following Maurizio Sarri’s departure from Naples. Although Dries Mertens gave Napoli a 10th-minute lead, a Mandzukic double had Juve ahead just after the break. Mario Rui’s sending off only made the visitors’ situation more difficult, and Leonardo Bonucci wrapped things up late on to deal an early blow in the title race.
November 11: AC Milan 0-2 Juventus – Ronaldo nets first San Siro goal
While Milan are not the powerhouse they once were, a trip to San Siro rarely represents a straightforward job. Juve’s November visit was a gripping one, although it will arguably be better remembered for Gonzalo Higuain’s nightmare against his parent club than anything else. The on-loan Rossoneri striker had a penalty saved by Wojciech Szczesny following Mandzukic’s eighth-minute opener, and he was sent off towards the end for berating the referee, needing several team-mates to escort him off the pitch. Just two minutes earlier, Ronaldo had secured the win with Juve’s second.
December 7: Juventus 1-0 Inter – Derby d’Italia win opens 11-point gap
Juve looked certainties to win Serie A yet again as early as December. A hard-fought 1-0 triumph in a tense Derby d’Italia against Inter extended their lead at the summit to 11 points. The ever-reliable Mandzukic was decisive with a header, moving Juve on to 43 points, equalling Paris Saint-Germain’s record for the best total after 15 games of a single season in Europe’s top five leagues.
December 26: Atalanta 2-2 Juventus – Benched Ronaldo saves the day
Allegri opted to rest Ronaldo for the Boxing Day trip to Atalanta, but the Portugal star ultimately ended up rescuing Juve. A Duvan Zapata double saw the hosts come from behind and take a 2-1 lead early in the second half, with Rodrigo Bentancur receiving his marching orders in the 53rd minute. Ronaldo soon entered from the bench and he levelled with 12 minutes remaining, preserving Juve’s unbeaten start to the season.
March 3: Napoli 1 Juventus 2 – Title out of Ancelotti’s reach
Napoli were already 13 points adrift of Juve when they met at Stadio San Paolo in March and an away win for Allegri’s men effectively put them beyond reach. After goalkeeper Alex Meret was sent off in the 25th minute, Miralem Pjanic curled the resultant free-kick home and Emre Can made it 2-0 just before the break. Pjanic joined Meret in making an early exit following a second booking two minutes after the interval and Jose Callejon pulled one back. Lorenzo Insigne’s 84th-minute penalty hit the post, though, compounding a disappointing day for Napoli.
April 6: Juventus 2-1 Milan – Kean keeps his cool
One of the main talking points in world football recently has been the alleged racist abuse suffered by Moise Kean against Cagliari, and Bonucci’s suggestion the teenager was partly to blame for it rightly caused a stir. But Kean was once more impressive three days later versus Milan, coming off the bench to score the winner – fittingly after a Bonucci error had initially allowed Krzysztof Piatek to open the scoring. It was not quite enough to seal the title and a shock loss at SPAL delayed the party, but Juve completed the job against Fiorentina.