Juve ready to celebrate Serie A title
MILAN - The Associated Press
Alessandro Del Piero. AFP photoJuventus is gearing up for a party on May 13 as it prepares to celebrate the club’s first Serie A title in nine years and say goodbye to Alessandro Del Piero.
Unbeaten Juventus claimed its 28th league title last weekend after beating Cagliari 2-0 and AC Milan losing 4-2 to Inter Milan in the next-to-last round of the season. Juventus is four points clear of Milan and can’t be caught.
Coach Antonio Conte’s champions face Atalanta in front of another sellout crowd at Juventus Stadium before going on an open-top bus parade through the streets of Turin, which are bound to be teeming with celebrating fans like last Sunday night.
“Even in this period of economic crisis, football has to make people dream and to work with people’s dreams is something that is very beautiful,” Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. “I was at home Sunday night and I saw how many people went the squares to celebrate our victory. We are delighted, after a year of work, to have given them a smile.
“Juventus exists to win and we work seven days out of seven for that. With one game to go, we have the best defense, we are unbeaten and, above all, champions of Italy. We have surpassed expectations because we chose the right people who helped us achieve a dream. Our future can only be a winning one.
The game will also be Del Piero’s last in front of home fans. He has spent almost his entire career at Juventus, having joined from Padova in 1993, and he stuck by the club when it was relegated. But the all-time great striker is leaving at the end of campaign.
Del Piero can complete a dream farewell by helping Juventus win the double in the Italian Cup final against Napoli on May 20.
Milan faces Novara in what is now a meaningless game for both sides, as Novara is already relegated.
Third spot and the final Champions League place is still very much up for grabs. Udinese is in pole position to join Europe’s elite for the second year running, as it is two points above Lazio.
Udinese travels to Catania and needs only a draw as it has a better head-to-head record than Lazio.
“Obviously the whole group knows how important the Catania game is, and it is right that the tension is growing slowly and in the right doses,” Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin said. “We have to stay very calm because nothing is done and everything is still to be won. We just have to think about preparing for the game well and being ready in our heads, legs and heart.” Lazio welcomes Inter Milan, which has a slim chance of sneaking third spot as it is three points behind Udinese.
Napoli is level with Inter in the standings and is the other team with an outside chance of reaching the Champions League when it hosts Siena.
At the other end of the table, Lecce still has a chance of avoiding the drop. It travels to Chievo Verona needing a victory to survive on goal difference, as it has a level head-to-head record with Genoa. Both games between the sides finished in a draw.
Genoa hosts Palermo, which has won only one of its past 13 games. However, Genoa has an even worse record with just one victory in its past 16.
Elsewhere, it is Cesena vs. Roma, Fiorentina vs. Cagliari and Parma vs. Bologna.