For the entirety of the first half, Juventus looked like a team that had already won the Scudetto. Their play wasn't sharp at all, the amount of attempts on goal was the same as the number of times I've been to the gym this month. It was drab, with the only highlight being one that went against Juventus — Luca Toni scoring a cucchiaio from the penalty spot right before the halftime whistle blew.
It's not like it got that much better over the next 45-plus minutes, either.
Juventus did get a few shots on target, which was nice, but the club's 26-game run without a loss officially came to an end. It was fun while it lasted. It is what allowed Juve to storm up the standings and win the Scudetto with plenty of room to spare. But for the first time since late-October, Juventus is on the wrong side of the final score against a Serie A opponent, falling 2-1 to Hellas Verona at the Bentegodi on Sunday night.
Not a bad way for Toni Day to be celebrated.
So there's that. And I guess with the kind of season Hellas has had, having something to celebrate isn't the worst thing in the world.
Even as unstoppable as this Juventus side has been over their unbeaten run, we should know from recent history that these kinds of things happen from time to time. Max Allegri had just about half of his regular starting lineup out injured or suspended. That's an even greater percentage when you factor in a couple of Allegri's go-to subs were also unable to play due to suspensions or their respective injuries.
Basically, even though Juve were playing a side that's already been relegated to Serie B, if they were going to get got, this is a scenario where it would probably make a little bit of sense.
For one day, though, last place can say they beat first place. First place might have been vastly understrength, but those are the cards Juve were dealt and, you know what, Hellas Verona actually played like they wanted to be there.
I ain't even mad, though. Not one bit. Juventus won the title a couple of weeks ago, so they're allowed a clunker without my blood pressure getting up. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels that way, too.
Random thoughts and observations
- Serie A goal No. 17 on the season for Paulo Dybala just before the final whistle blew. Stat-padding like a champ in garbage time. I think he's allowed one or two of those with how he's played for the vast majority of the season.
But, seriously, 17 goals. Is that good? I need to know for the sake of knowing.
- Simone Zaza stayed true to form and picked up a yellow card. And just because I want to have fun with small sample sizes, this is what Zaza has done in his last 10 appearances: Two goals, four yellow cards, one red card.
Is that good? I need to know for the sake of knowing.
- It's getting toward the end of the second half. Dybala dribbles forward, passes to his left to where he thinks Zaza is going to be making a run. Instead, Zaza made a run to his right. That just seemed to sum up the bulk of Juve's attacks against Hellas Verona. Things were just off.
- I'm not going to complain about the lineup or what Allegri's subs ended up being. The Padoin entrance in the 70th minute (!!!!) did provide us on Twitter with some comedy. But it would have been nice to see Andrea Favilli get more than a couple of minutes to his name against Hellas Verona. That's just me being selfish and wanting to see one of the primavera kids actually get some run.
- Has anybody seen Sami? Is he here or on holiday?
- Giorgio Chiellini played a little over 20 minutes and didn't get injured. I guess we can call this a step in the right direction based on how things have gone in his last few appearances.
- Romulo lives.
- Does anybody remember Roberto Pereyra doing anything of note during his 35 minutes on the field? I ask this because I don't. Oh well.
- I'll end this thing of a positive note: Daniele Rugani is good, and I like to remind everybody of this whenever I can. It's been fun to see him settle into the starting lineup and play well. He's done exactly what we wanted him to do when we were all clamoring for him to get playing time in the first half of the season.
- Scudetto party next weekend. That's going to be fun.