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Season review: Italy

Published: Monday 26 May 2014, 9.33CET
Juventus made history by breaking the 100-point barrier in a Serie A campaign which started with title challengers AS Roma winning their first ten matches, an Italian top-flight record.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Milan
Season review: Italy
Juventus celebrate their title success after the final game of a record-breaking season ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 26 May 2014, 9.33CET

Season review: Italy

Juventus made history by breaking the 100-point barrier in a Serie A campaign which started with title challengers AS Roma winning their first ten matches, an Italian top-flight record.

Juventus won their 30th Scudetto, and third in succession, in style as Antonio Conte's men became the first team to finish a Serie A season with more than 100 points. Their European campaign, however, ended in disappointment. After failing to progress from the UEFA Champions League group stage, they succumbed to SL Benfica in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, missing the chance to contest the final in their own stadium.

Champions: Juventus
Juventus have won the title every year since their former midfielder Conte took charge in the summer of 2011. If the first championship under the one-time Italian international was special for the Bianconeri going undefeated throughout the entire campaign, their domestic dominance was even more evident this term as they won 33 of 38 games, including all 19 at home. They ended with 102 points, 17 more than nearest rivals AS Roma. "The title we won two years ago gave us immense joy because it was unexpected," said goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. "But defending a title is even more difficult and this season we confirmed our dominance."

Cup final: SSC Napoli 3-1 ACF Fiorentina
Napoli finished third in Serie A in Rafael Benítez's first season at the helm, but the Spanish coach strengthened his reputation as a cup specialist by leading the Partenopei to their fifth Coppa Italia triumph. Lorenzo Insigne scored two early goals in the Rome final, but Juan Vargas pulled one back on 28 minutes. Vincenzo Montella's side pushed hard in the second half, though an equaliser remained elusive, even after Napoli's Gökhan Inler was dismissed with 11 minutes to play. Dries Mertens' added-time strike put the contest beyond doubt. "It was an entertaining match," said Napoli coach Rafael Benítez. "We started pretty well and after making it 2-0 things seemed to be easy for us, but then Fiorentina scored and made our lives hard until the end."

European places*

Juventus – UEFA Champions League group stage

AS Roma – UEFA Champions League group stage

SSC Napoli – UEFA Champions League play-offs
ACF Fiorentina – UEFA Europa League group stage

FC Internazionale Milano – UEFA Europa League play-offs
Torino FC – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round

* Subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Carlos Tévez (Juventus)
The official 2013/14 award will be given out in early 2015, but 'Apache' was voted as star of the season by Juventus fans and looks likely to be acclaimed by his peers too. His 19 strikes were only one aspect of Tévez's contribution this season as the Argentina forward clearly bought into the team-first attitude of Conte. Andrea Pirlo, meanwhile, was confirmed as the 2012/13 Player of the Season in January. "I really value this award because my footballing colleagues vote and it's very nice to be selected by your peers," the 34-year-old Italian international said. "They do the same job as me and they see better than anybody else what happens on the pitch."

One to watch: Ciro Immobile (Torino FC)

Domenico Berardi (19) and Juan Iturbe (20) made waves this season for US Sassuolo Calcio and Hellas Verona FC respectively, but the Torino striker was arguably the biggest surprise of the campaign. Serie B top scorer in 2011/12 when he helped Pescara Calcio to promotion with 28 goals, the 24-year-old struggled at Genoa CFC last term. The Juventus academy graduate, however, shined after a summer move to Torino, registering 22 goals – a total made up of no penalties. Blessed with a predatory instinct, good in the air and with both feet, Immobile formed one of the most potent strike partnerships in the league with Alessio Cerci as Giampiero Ventura's Torino finished seventh.

Surprise package: AS Roma
Several teams exceeded expectations this season but probably none as much as the Giallorossi, whose 85-point haul would have been enough to capture the Scudetto in five of the previous six campaigns. With new coach Rudi Garcia in the dugout, Roma set a new Serie A record by winning their first ten games. "I don't believe things go well by accident," said Garcia. "You make your own luck, and if you give everything on the field, if you work hard during the week, the results will come." They continued to shine thereafter, arguably playing the most entertaining football in the league before eventually bowing to Juventus's dominance.

Leading scorer: Ciro Immobile, Torino FC (22)

Relegated: Calcio Catania, Bologna FC, AS Livorno Calcio



Promoted: US Palermo Calcio, Empoli FC, AC Cesena

Number: 102
The 2013/14 season will certainly be remembered as the one of Juventus's 102 points.

Quote

"In the last ten years I have scored more goals for Udinese than I've gone out for dinner with my wife."
There are no official statistics regarding the dinners, but veteran forward Antonio Di Natale scored 175 times for Udinese in ten seasons, 17 this term

Last updated: 19/06/14 10.03CET

http://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/association=ita/news/newsid=2108571.html#season+review+italy

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