Juventus won a game 4-1 to close out the 2020-21 season on Sunday night. It was about as relaxing as any Juve game this season. There was no risk of dropping points, they were up early and scored often before halftime and they looked relatively good doing it. (And that’s on top of rocking their brand new kits for the first time in a Serie A game.)
But, as we know, what Juventus did was only part of the equation on this day.
Juventus needed to win, sure, but they also needed help from one of the two teams playing Napoli and AC Milan at the same time that Sunday’s game in Bologna was taking place. They needed to see either Napoli or Milan drop points to, somehow, do the last-ditch jump into the top four in Serie A. And for a large part of Sunday’s action, it wasn’t looking all that great, with Napoli and Milan both taking 1-0 leads.
Then, Hellas Verona came to the rescue, hung on for dear life late and as Juventus players huddled around somebody’s phone on the bench after the final whistle sounded in Bologna, they were able to celebrate much in the same fashion they did a couple of nights earlier when they won the Coppa Italia.
Juventus, after all the B.S. this season has provided, has qualified for the Champions League. Just when you thought they were out, they are now back in — literally and figuratively. I guess now all we wait for is to see what UEFA has to say about everything, huh?
(Please note for the record that the Hellas Verona goal that sent Juventus into next season’s Champions League was scored in the 69th minute and that is nice.)
But with Juventus building such an early lead, all of the drama was taken away from what was going on at the Dall’Ara and on the ones who were tracking the two other games on their phones. With Milan beating Atalanta, everything was put onto what was happening in Naples. Thankfully, that help that Juventus needed actually arrived, and now we’re able to say, with an underwhelming fourth-place finish, Juve are playing in the Champions League next season.
At least we think they are.
We’ll see what happens over the summer.
In conclusion: This will now unofficially be a Hellas Verona fan blog. Maybe not all the time, but for at least the next day or two. I think they deserve with the massive amount of help they just threw in Juventus’ direction.
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
- To make a decision to rest the league’s top scorer in a game you had to win ... gutsy.
- Some reported before kickoff that it was a tactical decision. Others said that Ronaldo was feeling “too tired” and PIrlo went from there. Fabio Paratici said that it was more of a workload thing than a tactical thing. At this point, I have no idea what to believe and I will just leave it there.
- That chip by Paulo Dybala on Alvaro Morata’s first goal ... that was pretty.
- The three or four passes in the build-up to Adrien Rabiot’s goal ... that was also pretty.
- We also got a goalkeeper assist on Morata’s second goal. And he was onside after the long outlet pass from Wojciech Szczesny. Surprising stuff, right?
- Those two goals by Morata pushed his season total to 20 in all competitions. Obviously with how hot he was to start the season you might have hoped that end total would be higher, but for a guy who was very much a last-minute kind of signing, that’s a pretty good total.
- I sure hope Matthijs de Ligt is feeling OK because my man got absolutely beat up in the first half. It’s not one bit surprising that he tried to play through all of it because he’s literally a Dutch cyborg. What a player he is.
- His replacement in the second half, Leonardo Bonucci, got a bloody nose in the second half. I guess nobody wanted to dish it out to Giorgio Chiellini in what could be his last game as a Juventus player.
- To close out the season, Chiellini started against Milan, against Inter, against Atalanta and then Bologna. He played 90 minutes in three of those games. And the last three games Chiellini played came within the span of nine days. God bless him.
- There are clearly things that Dejan Kulusevski needs to work on in the offseason, but the way he closed out this season was rather encouraging. If that decision making improves even a little bit, then he’s going to be quite the player. He’s got the talent, now it’s just about putting everything together.
- HOW DARE JUVENTUS NOT GIVE CARLO PINSOGLIO PART OF THE SHUTOUT IN HIS ONLY GAME OF THE SEASON. HOW DARE THEM.
- Leave it to Federico Bernardeschi to be the guy who shows up to the final game of the season with an absolutely wild haircut. But hey, Blondie Berna does have a ring to it.
- It sure was fun to see Dybala engaged, involved and creating chances for himself and his teammates. We have no idea what the future holds for so many of Juve’s top players, but this was one of the games — and of course you can say “It was only Bologna!!!” but that was a performance where Dybala was at his La Joya-y best.
- Who led Juventus in tackles in this game? Paulo Dybala.
- What else to say about a game that was over at halftime and subsequently had me watching different games (for obvious reasons) for much of the second half? Not much! Except Juventus is in the Champions League just when it looked like they weren’t going to be. What a season this has been.
- Oh, and yeah ... Napoli gonna Napoli.
- I’ve always been a HUGE Hellas Verona fan. Thought y’all knew?
- Good night and good luck, everybody.