A potentially season-altering matchday ended in an anti-climactic fashion as both of the weekend’s eagerly-anticipated contests ended in draws.
The big winners of Matchday 25 were AC Milan, who edged out a drab Sampdoria 1-0 on Sunday to top Serie A after Napoli and Inter Milan played out a 1-1 draw in Naples on Saturday evening. That result left the door open for Juventus to enter the Scudetto race, albeit as a distinct outsider.
However, Atalanta once again proved stern opposition for the Bianconeri, who were bailed out by a stoppage-time Danilo header to rescue a point after Ruslan Malinovskyi had put La Dea ahead in typical Malinovskyi fashion. The Ukrainian’s belter from distance was his fourth scored against Juventus since arriving in Bergamo.
Juve’s point may well be a crucial one in the context of Serie A’s top four race, but their markedly faint Scudetto hopes are as good as dashed.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri backs Inter for the Scudetto
Massimiliano Allegri was swift to temper expectations amid talk of a late title charge from the Old Lady following their 2-0 victory over Hellas Verona last weekend.
The boss echoed this sentiment after Sunday’s draw in Bergamo: “The Scudetto? It was impossible even before today’s match,” he said, speaking to DAZN Italy (via @JuveFC). “There are too many points and too many teams ahead. We have to think about fourth place and improve our performances overall.”
Danilo’s equalising header kept Juve two points ahead of Atalanta in fourth, but La Dea does have a game in hand on the Old Lady. In terms of the title, Juve are nine points adrift of new leaders Milan but Inter could return to the summit should they win their game in hand and extend the lead over the Bianconeri to 11 points.
The margin is surely insurmountable for a team that, despite their recent improvement following their work in the January transfer window, will continue to drop points from now up until the end of the season.
A rational Allegri certainly believes so, and the Juve boss is still backing Simone Inzaghi’s Inter for the title. Last week, the boss said the Scudetto race was “between Inter, Milan and Napoli” and after the weekend’s results at the top he added: “For me, Inter will win it, with respect for Milan and Napoli.”