Juve sight Scudetto as Milan lose ground


Juventus virtually secured their 29th Serie A title on Sunday with a 1-0 win over AC Milan who saw their own bid for Champions League football next season suffer a blow.

A second-half Arturo Vidal penalty settled what was a less-than-inspiring performance from both sides and left the champions requiring just four points from their remaining five games to defend the Scudetto.

Juve, however, could wrap up the title next week if they beat Torino at home and Napoli lose away to bottom side Pescara.

Juve’s 24th win of the campaign restored their 11-point lead on Napoli, who beat Cagliari 3-2 earlier Sunday, and dented Milan’s push for the league’s runner-up spot which offers direct qualification to next season’s Champions League.

Milan remain third but are now seven points behind Napoli and, arguably more importantly, are just one point ahead of Fiorentina, who have ambitions to snatch the third and final Champions League spot, albeit one which does not offer direct qualification for the competition.

“We didn’t give away much in the match but we were lacking in the final 16 metres (of the pitch),” said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, who appeared to concede second place to Napoli.

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“Now we have do as much as we can in our final five games to keep our pursuers at bay.”

Vidal admitted: “It wasn’t a great performance, but it’s not easy to play against Milan.

“But the important thing is we have taken one more step towards the title.”

After celebrating the win on the touchline, Juve coach Antonio Conte said: “It’s a crucial win for us, because every time we win I hear people say it’s another step towards the title.

“This time we can really say that is the case. We haven’t won it yet, but we’re not far away.”

Milan had been unbeaten since a 4-2 reverse away to Roma days before Christmas but, missing suspended striker Mario Balotelli, showed little threat against a Juve side at full strength and feeling little pressure.

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