Five keys to Juventus’ ninth consecutive Serie A crown

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Milan (AFP)

Italian giants Juventus won their ninth consecutive Serie A title on Sunday after a 2-0 home win over Sampdoria.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at five things that helped Maurizio Sarri guide the Turin giants to a 36th Scudetto with two matches to spare:

Inter double whammy

Juventus have beaten title rivals Inter Milan twice this season, winning 2-1 at San Siro in October, and most importantly 2-0 in Turin on March 8, the last game before the season ended. be suspended for more than three months amid the coronavirus. pandemic.

Aaron Ramsey and Paulo Dybala scored behind closed doors in the Allianz Stadium, with the Argentine also on target in the away game, as the champions took a point lead and psychological advantage over Lazio, second, in the lock.

Antonio Conte’s Inter were nine points off third place at this point with one game underway.

Lazio implode

Lazio had been one of the loudest teams to return to action as they had the best chance in years of securing a third league title in their 120-year history.

Simone Inzaghi’s side beat Juventus twice in December with a score of 3-1, in the league and in the Italian Super Cup, and were on a 21-game unbeaten streak.

But their “Scudetto” battle lasted on the return to action on June 20, and struck down with injuries and poor form, they fell 2-1 to Juventus on July 20, ending their challenge.

Ronaldo, Dybala strike duo

The scoring prowess of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala has been at the heart of Juventus’ rise to power.

Ronaldo, 35, now has 62 Serie A goals since arriving in Turin in July 2018 and 31 this season.

Ronaldo has scored ten goals since returning from the lockdown, more than any player in Europe’s top leagues.

Italy’s top scorer – ‘Capocannoniere’ – is up for grabs, as he faces Lazio’s Ciro Immobile, who has scored 34 goals so far with two games to go.

Dybala, 26, who looked set to leave Turin last season, has scored 11 goals, including four in as many appearances after football returned to Italy.

“Cristiano and Dybala made the difference,” Sarri said on Sunday.

“This scudetto is largely thanks to them. »

De Ligt steps up

Dutch left-back Matthjis De Ligt took to the skies in his debut season at Juventus, stepping up in the absence of Giorgio Chiellini, 35, with a long-term knee injury.

After an awkward start to life at Turin with penalties conceded due to handballs, the former Ajax player has often saved the club, especially in the post-lockout title race.

At just 20 years old, one of Europe’s most wanted players proved worth the € 75million ($ 82million) investment last summer, forming a solid backline with Leonardo Bonucci , 33, and has even found the net four times.

Buffon in the wings

Gianluigi Buffon returned to Juventus after a season with Paris Saint-Germain, playing the understudy for Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Buffon set a new Serie A appearance record on July 5 in a 4-1 win over Turin to surpass the previous record of 647 appearances he held together with AC Milan great Paolo Maldini.

Juventus were undefeated in all eight games the 42-year-old stood between the posts.

The former World Cup winner must play 35 games to equal Alessandro Del Piero’s total record of 705 appearances for Juventus.

“I will stop when the ability to play at the top is lacking, I will decide for myself when to step back,” he said.

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