Serie A: Atalanta 0 Juventus 1
By Football News
Juventus won their ninth Serie A match in a row after edging Atalanta 1-0 in Bergamo on Wednesday.
Alessandro Matri scored the only goal of the game in the 18th minute for Juve, who have now won their last six matches at Atalanta.
The match was marred by first-half crowd trouble, with proceedings suspended for 10 minutes after fans were throwing flares at each other.
Juventus manager Antonio Conte and Atalanta striker German Denis were just two of the figures who tried to calm the tension at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia and play did resume, although the scoreline remained the same despite the best efforts of both sides.
Juventus – who wrapped up the Serie A title with a 1-0 win over Palermo last week – needed to win their final three matches of the season to surpass the record points total of 91, set by themselves in 2006.
That did not stop Conte making nine changes to his side though, as the likes of Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Mirko Vucinic had to settle for a place on the bench.
Juve still had a strong side to choose from despite their extensive rotation, while Atalanta boss Stefano Colantuono made four changes in a bid to end his club's four-match winless streak.
The visitors started brightly and could have taken the lead after three minutes, only for Emanuele Giaccherini to shoot straight at goalkeeper Andrea Consigli after a terrific first touch.
Cristian Raimondi limped off after just seven minutes for Atalanta, who saw Denis go close, while Fabio Quagliarella also squandered early chances at the other end.
Juventus took the lead in the 18th minute though, as a sublime Andrea Pirlo ball set Matri free. The striker brought the ball down well and beat the onrushing Consigli with a hooked left-foot finish that flew into the back of the net. Denis flashed a header inches wide in the aftermath for Atalanta, while Paolo De Ceglie should have done better for the visitors just after.
Coincidentally during the crowd trouble, the officials saw their electronic communication system fail, but when play resumed Chilean Carlos Carmona almost scored with a great 25-yard effort for Atalanta.
The hosts kept up the pressure, with Denis going even closer when he side-footed a volley into the post seven minutes before the break. Mauricio Isla had a shot deflected wide just after the break but Juve were far from dominant as their opponents remained a threat. They continued to whip crosses into the box and more often than not they were causing problems, with Davide Biondini going close to heading an equaliser just before the hour-mark.
A great one-two between Matri and Isla saw the former inches away from doubling Juventus' lead, while substitute Vidal shot straight at the legs of Consigli on a fast break with 10 minutes remaining.
Giaccherini also wasted a chance on the counter-attack, smashing an effort into the side netting in the final minute of normal time, but in the end it mattered little as Juventus celebrated yet another win this season.
Conte's side will play Cagliari and Sampdoria to end the season, knowing wins in both will see them claim the record points total in Serie A history.