No records, but a trophy still held aloft

Posted by Mina Rzouki

Claudio Villa/Getty ImagesManager Antonio Conte received some of the loudest cheers for helping Juventus win the Scudetto for the second year in a row.

Cagliari stopped the dream, but Juventus still lifted a trophy to prove there's no greater team in Italy. Managing only a 1-1 draw at home on Saturday, the Old Lady can no longer reach 92 points and beat Fabio Capello's record.

However, under Antonio Conte, it seems there's no such thing as dreams going unrealised. Should he stay in charge, Juve may well accumulate a record-breaking number of points in the years to come.

Unfortunately, with little to play for, this was very much an end-of-season game especially in the first half. Neither side over-exerted themselves, ambition was somewhat lacking while several individual errors disturbed the rhythm of the game. However, an individual moment of beauty swiftly changed the game and raised expectations.

A swift counterattack saw Cagliari's Victor Ibarbo the opportunity to run the length of the pitch and, with neither Andrea Barzagli nor Claudio Marchisio able to stop him, he overcame Marco Storari to score on the 12th minute. The manner in which he accelerated, imposed his physical strength and cut in to strike demonstrated the strength of a player eager to impress.

Juventus created several chances of their own, but as we have come to expect, the Old Lady always seems to lack the final pass necessary to complete the attack. The home side desperately needed to raise the tempo and to show more ambition if they were going to overcome Cagliari’s organised defence and keep the bid for the record alive.

Thankfully, that competitive edge and will to fight somewhat resurfaced in the second half when Juventus looked more determined to grab an equaliser at the least. Driven by their most valuable player in Arturo Vidal, the Chilean shielded the ball well and pushed forward demonstrating the desire to win -- one he demonstrated from the very first minute, unlike the rest of the squad.

A wonderful cross from Marchisio found Vidal but his header turned into a pass for Mirko Vucinic who simply tapped in the equaliser. After that the Bianconeri poured forward in order to find the winning goal and complete the task of securing 10 victories in a rowm but it wasn’t to be.

While those in the crowd and at home were eager for the celebrations to begin, the players, in true Conte style, were fighting for another goal. Unfortunately time ran out, and they now cannot hope to overcome Capello’s record. Nonetheless, what they have achieved domestically and in Europe is indeed a feat worthy of celebration.

Each player went to collect his medal and the crowd raised their level of applause for those they deemed incredibly worthy. The utmost respect was shown to Barzagli, Juve’s most consistent defender this season. The stadium reverberated when it was Paul Pogba’s turn to collect his medal but nothing came close to the atmosphere felt when the time came to honour Conte.

Descending into delirium, the fans applauded passionately as the tactician humbly accepted his medal and went to celebrate with his players. Very much the reason behind Juve’s latest success story, the likes of Giorgio Chiellini were quick to tell awaiting media that the coach will stay. At least he hopes so.

There was no greater man to lift the trophy than captain Gianluigi Buffon, who along with Alessandro Del Piero refused to desert the Old Lady at her worst moment -- her demotion. Going down to Serie B with her, the world's greatest goalkeeper with the safest hands in Italy raised that trophy to the sky to celebrate victory, consistency and domestic glory.

This side didn't break records but it only seems that is only a question of time. A dynasty is very much what many in Italy want to see and what Juventus are creating. Congratulations to the champions of Serie A.

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