The Turin club’s come-from-behind 3-2 win over Fiorentina on Wednesday, in which Carlos Tevez scored twice, was not enough for Juventus to be crowned champions in front of their own fans because nearest rivals Lazio thumped Parma 4-0.
However, Juve sit 14 points clear with five matches remaining and hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over second-placed Lazio, so a draw at the Marassi on Saturday evening will officially end the race for the scudetto. That would set the Bianconeri up perfectly for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final against reigning European champions Real Madrid in Turin next Tuesday.
“The finish line is close. Let’s go and get what we deserve on Saturday and then we’ll try to chase even more beautiful dreams,” coach Massimiliano Allegri wrote on Twitter on Thursday ahead of a game at which no Juve supporters will be present following the trouble that marred last weekend’s Turin derby.
Juve’s opponents Sampdoria are without a win in five and have lost Brazilian-born Italian international forward Eder for the remainder of the season due to injury but are in need of a result in their bid to qualify for the UEFA Europa League, with city rivals Genoa one of four clubs behind them all within three points.
Beneath Juve, the battle to qualify for the Champions League remains intense with Lazio holding on to the second automatic qualifying berth by one point from capital rivals Roma, although fourth-placed Napoli’s hopes were hit by a 4-2 defeat at Empoli on Thursday that left them a further five points back.
Stefano Pioli’s Lazio travel to Atalanta on Sunday while Roma entertain Europa League hopefuls Genoa and Napoli entertain an AC Milan side who continue to languish in mid-table.
“I am thinking about us, not about Roma or Napoli, who both set out to win the scudetto and go on in the Champions League,” said Pioli. “They have both spent so much money. To be where we are shows our value. We need to stay focused until the end.”
Italian Serie A fixtures
Sampdoria v Juventus, Sassuolo v Palermo
Cagliari v Parma
Torino v Empoli