Wednesday, September 22
06:46 AM

NINE IN A ROW FOR JUVENTUS

27 Jul 2020

Star striker Ronaldo dedicated the record-extending ninth Serie A title ‘to the fans’. Elsewhere, United and Chelsea joined champions Liverpool and City in the Champions League next season as the EPL season came to a close.

Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo dedicated Juventus’ record-extending ninth successive Italian League (Serie A) title ‘to the fans’ as they defeated Sampdoria 2-0 in Turin, Italy, on Sunday.

The forward scored his 31st league goal of the season from Miralem Pjanic’s short free-kick and Federico Bernardeschi sealed the victory.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are the only team to win nine consecutive titles in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

It extends their own record, which Bayern Munich had matched in June.

Ronaldo missed the chance to get closer to Ciro Immobile’s tally of 34 at the top of the Serie A goal charts as he struck a penalty against the crossbar in the final minutes.

The win ensured former Chelsea manager Sarri the first league title of his managerial career.

Sampdoria’s hopes of finding a way back into the match ended as they were reduced to ten men following a second booking for Morten Thorsby.

Ronaldo’s goal sees him move to within three of leading Serie A goalscorer Immobile, who scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 win over Verona earlier on Sunday.

“I told the players ‘if you win with me who has never won anything, it is because you are really strong’,” said Sarri, whose only major trophy win was the Europa League with Chelsea in May 2019.

Title dedicated  to the fans

Ronaldo, 35, has scored ten goals since football returned in Italy on June 20, more than any other player in Europe, bringing his tally to 31 this season.

He has also matched former Italy World Cup winner Felice Borel, who was the last player to score 31 goals for Juventus in the 1933-34 season, with two games remaining.

“Delighted for the second consecutive championship and to continue building the history of this great and splendid club,” said Ronaldo on Instagram.

“This title is dedicated to all Juventus fans, in particular to those who have suffered and are suffering from the pandemic that has taken us all by surprise by overturning the world.

“It was not easy. Your courage, your attitude and your determination were the strength we needed to face this tight final of the championship and fight to the end for this title that belongs to all of Italy.

“A big hug to you all.”

Record domination

Juventus are one of three European teams to be on a run of nine titles in a row, alongside Celtic in Scotland and Ludogorets Razgrad of Bulgaria.

The world record for consecutive league titles is thought to be Tafea, who won the Vanuatu league for 15 seasons in a row (1994 to 2009), while Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps and the now dissolved Skonto of Latvia have the European record with 14 in a row.

Lyon won seven French titles in a row (between 2002 and 2008), while Real Madrid have won five consecutive Spanish titles twice and Huddersfield, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are the only teams to win three in a row in England.

Within Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – Juventus’ 36 titles is a record, two ahead of this season’s Spanish champions Real Madrid.

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

United, Chelsea finish in top-four

 

Manchester United and Chelsea secured their places in next season’s Champions League on the final day of the English Premier League (EPL) on Sunday.

While United sealed a place at the expense of Leicester City at the King Power Stadium with a 2-0 win, Chelsea defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at the Stamford Bridge to spark celebrations.

With Liverpool already crowned champions and Manchester City also confirmed for the prestigious Champions League, Sunday was all about the remaining two spots with United, Chelsea and Leicester in close race.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side needed a point from this decisive final-day meeting to confirm a place in the top-four. Leicester needed victory once Chelsea took command at home to Wanderers but their dreams were dashed as Bruno Fernandes scored a 71st-minute penalty after Anthony Martial tumbled under challenge from Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans.

Leicester City’s fifth-placed finish earns a place in the Europa League, this will undoubtedly be a huge disappointment and anti-climax after being in a position to reach the Champions League for so long.

It will be scant consolation for them that striker Vardy will claim the Golden Boot, as the EPL’s top scorer with 23 goals.

Vardy became the oldest player to win the EPL Golden Boot. The 33 year old ended up a goal clear of Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Southampton striker Danny Ings, both on 22. Vardy is the ninth English player to win or share the Golden Boot. Manchester City keeper Ederson pipped Burnley’s Nick Pope to the Golden Glove award.

Manchester United finished 33 points behind champions Liverpool and 15 adrift of second-placed City. 

Liverpool won 3-1 against Newcastle United to finish the season with 99 points while City trounced already-relegated Norwich 5-0 to end with 81 points, a game that saw City legend David Silva make his final EPL appearance.

Champions Liverpool finished on the second-highest points total in top-flight history. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds accumulated 99 points, one fewer than City managed two years ago, and one more than Liverpool managed in 1978-79, once the two points they got for a win back then is altered to three. They finished 18 points above Pep Guardiola’s runners-up – one short of City’s record winning margin two seasons ago.

Chelsea survived a potentially hazardous last game at home to Wolves and manager Frank Lampard is on course for a highly satisfactory return from his first season as a Premier League manager.

Lampard also has the FA Cup final to come against Arsenal so, like Solskjaer with the Europa League, he may yet have tangible reward for his endeavours this season.

Later, Lampard confirmed that Spanish striker Pedro had played his last league game for Chelsea. The forward, who will be 33 on Tuesday, came on for the final few minutes of Sunday’s 2-0 win over Wolves. Pedro, signed from Barcelona in 2014, helped Chelsea secure the EPL title in 2016-17 and also won the FA Cup and Europa League.

According to the Sport Business Group at Deloitte, Chelsea and United will earn a minimum of around US$64mn from qualification for the Champions League. Leicester will only receive US$9.3mn for reaching the Europa League.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho said he intends to get Tottenham back ‘where we belong’ after they qualified for the Europa League with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. The result saw Spurs leapfrog into sixth place above Wolves.

“When all the players are available, we showed in this last period where we belong,” Mourinho said. 

On the last day, Aston Villa secured their EPL survival at the expense of Bournemouth and Watford.

A 1-1 draw at West Ham was enough to see Villa finish one point clear of the bottom three, as Watford lost 2-3 at Arsenal and Bournemouth were relegated despite winning 3-1 at Everton.

EPL final standings: 1 Liverpool (99 points), 2 Man City (81), 3 Man United (66), 4 Chelsea (66), 5 Leicester (62), 6 Tottenham (59), 7 Wolverhampton Wanderers (59), 8 Arsenal (56), 9 Sheffield United (54), 10 Burnley (54), 11 Southampton (52), 12 Everton (49), 13 Newcastle United (44), 14 Crystal Palace (43), 15 Brighton & Hove Albion (41), 16 West Ham (39), 17 Aston Villa (35), 18 Bournemouth (34), 19 Watford (34), 20 Norwich City (21).

 

(With inputs from BBC Sport and agencies)

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