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A 72nd minute strike by Simone Padoin allowed Juventus to celebrate their third consecutive Serie A title with a 1-0 win over Atalanta in front of a packed Juventus Stadium on Monday.
Juventus Celebrate Serie A Title with Atalanta Win
TURIN, ITALY - MAY 05:  Players of Juventus celebrate the victory after the Serie A match between...

A 72nd minute strike by Simone Padoin allowed Juventus to celebrate their third consecutive Serie A title with a 1-0 win over Atalanta in front of a packed Juventus Stadium on Monday.

Antonio Conte's side were handed the title without even lacing up their boots on Sunday when closest challengers Roma crashed 4-1 at relegation-haunted Catania. Conte consequently gave his squad the day off, but any ill effects of their celebrations were well hidden as the Bianconeri dominated throughout to remain unbeaten against the Bergamo-based side since a February 2001 reverse.

With two games remaining -- Juve travel to Roma next Sunday and then host Cagliari on the final day of the season -- the Turin giants have amassed 96 points and remain on course to become the first Serie A side with a tally of at least 100. Carlos Tevez, who sits two goals behind Serie A goals leader Ciro Immobile (21), started on the bench for the hosts with Sebastian Giovinco partnering Pablo Daniel Osvaldo up front.

Atalanta came closest to breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes through Giacomo Bonaventura, but only a minute later Osvaldo's looping header forced Andrea Consigli to stretch and tip over. Giovinco had picked up a knock in the first half and was replaced by Fabio Quagliarella for the second half.

Juventus continued to dominate but their next real chance did not fall until after the hour when Consigli pulled off a superb double save from Quagliarella then Pogba. Tevez, who had replaced Osvaldo a minute earlier, picked up the rebound from Pogba's strike but was well off target. 

Padoin finally gave Juve the chance to celebrate the title in style when he beat Atalanta's Mario Yepes to a loose ball just inside the area. Tevez should have doubled Juve's lead late in injury time but the Argentinian skewed Quagliarella's unselfish square ball wide of the upright. 

Earlier, captain Stefano Mauri scored a controversial late penalty to salvage a share of the spoils for Lazio in a 3-3 draw against Verona as both sides dropped points in their race to qualify for the Europa League. Lazio and Verona are among several teams fighting for three Europa League places on offer this season, the third coming courtesy of the Italian Cup which Napoli won after defeating Fiorentina 3-1 on Saturday. 

Romulo tapped home a low cross from the left to give the visitors a 3-2 lead with seven minutes to play and Verona were given a boost two minutes later when Senad Lulic saw red for a brutal foul on Iturbe. But Lazio were handed a lifeline in injury time when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Miroslav Klose fell under slight contact from Michelangelo Albertazzi, who was sent off. 

Mauri saw his spot-kick saved by Rafel in the Verona net but the Lazio skipper pounced on the loose ball to tap home and secure a share of the points. The result saved face but did little to help either side's Europa League bid.

Torino remain sixth on 55 points, with a one-point lead on both Parma -- 2-0 winners against Sampdoria -- and Milan, who beat Inter 1-0 in the derby on Sunday evening. Fiorentina, in fourth and already qualified for the Europa League, host relegation-haunted Sassuolo on Tuesday when third-placed Napoli host Cagliari in the hope of cementing their hold on a Champions League place.

Source: AFP
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8 hrs. ago

M'Baye Niang put the nightmare of the Paris terror attacks firmly behind him with two goals and an assist as AC Milan crushed a sorry Sampdoria 4-1 at the San Siro on Saturday.

Niang admitted last week the events of the past fortnight had left him worried for the safety of family and friends in and around the French capital.

But the 20-year-old from the Paris suburbs produced a confident performance for the Rossoneri, first delivering for Giacomo Bonaventura's opener on 16 minutes and then beating Emiliano Viviano from the spot after the Milan winger had been hauled down in the area seven minutes before the interval.

Niang secured Milan's seventh win of the campaign when he fired under Viviano four minutes after the restart after the 'keeper's fluffed clearance.

When he was replaced by Luiz Adriano 15 minutes from the whistle it took the Brazilian just four minutes to find the net after volleying Alessio Cerci's intelligent cross past Viviano.

The only blot on Milan's copybook was Gianluigi Donnarumma's failure to stop Luis Muriel from the spot after Andrea Pioli had tugged on Eder in the area in the closing minutes.

Milan moved up to fifth place at seven points behind leaders Inter ahead of the remainder of the weekend matches, with Sampdoria's second successive defeat under new coach Vincenzo Montella leaving them 14 points adrift.

"It was an almost perfect performance," said Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who gave a special mention to Niang.

"He's a big player for us, he was doing really well in pre-season then he got injured. Now he's back in form and he's doing well, but he already showed at Genoa (loan) what he was made of."

For the fifth consecutive match Mihajlovic opted for teenage goalkeeper Donnarumma over the more experienced Diego Lopez but the 16-year-old had to dive low to parry after his messy clearance fell to Roberto 

Soriano 30 yards out in the opening minute.

From then on, it was all Milan with Niang the main protagonist before making way for Adriano on 74 minutes.

Having spent the last half of last season on loan at Genoa, the striker said he in enjoying playing in a pure 

striker's role under Mihajlovic.

"I'm really happy because I've been waiting for this for a longtime, the hard work's paying off and I hope it continues like this," said Niang.

"I played as a centre-forward, the position I prefer and I think that along with our win over Lazio this was our best display this season."

Milan broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with Alessio Cerci, whose eighth minute goal was ruled offside, involved before Niang burst down the right to fire in a weighted delivery that Bonaventura slid in to meet at the back post.

Milan built on their momentum and Niang almost doubled the lead when he collected Juraj Kucka's short delivery on the right to drag his angled shot inches wide of Viviano's far post.

Sampdoria were struggling to find any rhythm and Milan's movement in the final third of the pitch was causing huge problems for the visitors.

Niang left Edgar Barreto behind to burst down the right and fire across the bows, but Bonaventura's first-timer from the six-yard line blasted over.

Samp's only real chance came when Luis Muriel dribbled his way into the area but despite turning Milan's defence his promising strike was blocked by Alessio Romagnoli.

Niang came close twice with flicks that inched wide of Viviano's post just after the restart.

But when the 'keeper fluffed a clearance, Niang collected and strode confidently into the area to fire under his body and secure the second brace of his Serie A career, after hitting a double for Genoa against Verona last season.

A tiring Niang soon made way for Adriano and only four minutes later Cerci was given time and space to the right of the area to pick out the Brazilian with a pinpoint pass which he controlled before firing past a helpless Viviano.

Earlier, Torino moved up to seventh place with a 2-0 home win over Bologna thanks to second-half goals from Andrea Belotti and Giuseppe Vives.