Italian Serie A: Juventus lift title after playing out 1-1 draw with Cagliari
Rome: Juventus` hopes of breaking their points record for a single Serie A season were dashed by a 1-1 draw at home to Cagliari on Saturday evening.
In truth, the Bianconeri were somewhat fortunate to have escaped with a draw, having fallen behind to a stunning solo strike from Victor Ibarbo.
However, Mirko Vucinic came off the bench to earn the hosts a draw with a simple header from a terrific knock-down from man of the match Arturo Vidal.
With the title having been sealed against Palermo last weekend, the Bianconeri had little to play for - and it showed for long stretches. However, coach Antonio Conte had spoken beforehand of his desire to see his side win their two remaining fixtures and thus break the club`s previous points record of 91.
Consequently, it was no surprise to see the home side begin in a lively fashion, with Vidal particularly prominent early on, putting Sebastian Giovinco in on goal only to see his team-mate take too long to get a shot away, before then drawing a spectacular save from Michael Agazzi with a fine strike from distance.
However, Ibarbo had also started in stirring fashion and it was he who opened the scoring. The Colombian had already frightened the life out of Andrea Barzagli with one drive from deep when he took on the classy centre-back again 13 minutes in.
Barzagli had Claudio Marchisio for support but Ibarbo, who had picked up possession inside his own half, simply stormed past the pair of them before coolly slotting the ball underneath Marco Storari to end Juve`s five-game run without conceding.
The ease with which the Colombian had cut inside Barzagli had been staggering but it was somewhat explained by the Italy international`s injury-enforced withdrawal just moments later.
In truth, Cagliari looked the better side after Ibarbo`s strike but Juve were desperately unfortunate not to have drawn level just after the half-hour mark when Giovinco`s measured free kick struck the crossbar and bounced down on the wrong side of the goalline from the home side`s perspective.
Vidal continued to drive Juve forward but, as it was, the champions went in a goal down at the break, so it was hardly surprising that Conte decided to introduce Vucinic early in the second half.
The Montenegrin took a while to get into the game but Emanuele Giaccherini was causing all sorts of problems down the left-hand side and the Bianconeri`s utility man went close to drawing his side level after cutting into the area only to see Agazzi get down well to keep out the wing-back`s low strike.
Vucinic made his mark just moments later, though, nodding home from close range after Vidal had busted a gut to get on the end of Marchisio`s cross to the back post and head the ball back across the goal.
Juve poured forward in search of a winner, with Marchisio going close late on, but there was to be no denying the Rossoblu, who, in fairness, were good value for their point.