Arturo Vidal’s 10th league goal of the season was enough to secure a 1-0 win over Palermo and help ten-man Juventus to their 29th Serie A title yesterday.
Juve, however, courted controversy when several players brandished giant shields in the colours of the Italian flag and adorned with ‘31’.
The number was a reference to Juve’s belief that they have won 31 titles, despite being officially stripped of two league crowns several years ago due to their implication in a match-fixing affair.
“We’ve taken a weight off our sholuders,” said goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon. “After winning the title last season, to finish second would have been a huge disappointment.”
Juventus now have a 14-point lead over second-placed Napoli, who, even in the event of a win over Inter Milan, can not overtake the Turin giants in the final three games of the season.
Chilean international Vidal had been Juve’s top scorer this season, the attacking midfielder scoring nine in the league and 14 in all competitions prior to yesterday’s encounter.
When the hosts were awarded a penalty just before the hour after midfielder Massimo Donati fouled Bianconeri striker Mirko Vucinic in the area, Vidal stepped up to beat Stefano Sorrentino in the Palermo goal.
Vidal was cautioned for over-exuberant celebrations but the goal sent Juventus Stadium into raptures. Juve’s title celebrations were tinged by the late sending-off of French midfielder Paul Pogba, who saw red seven minutes from the final whistle after spitting at Salvatore Aronica following a shouting match with the defender.
Juventus, who won the title in 2012 after being unbeaten in the league the entire season, have lost only four times this campaign. Elsewhere, AC Milan, currently third, beat Torino 1-0 at home.