Florence (Italy), May 22: Juventus suffered one final indignation in a disappointing season as Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala ended their Bianconeri careers with a 2-0 defeat at Fiorentina.
Although Juventus have finished fourth in Serie A, this has not been a campaign to remember and this was one more slog, with Alfred Duncan opening the scoring for a Fiorentina side who were far and away the superior team.
The hosts had more to play for, admittedly, with this win securing a place in next season's Europa Conference League.
But for Massimiliano Allegri and his Juventus team, 90 minutes of mediocrity was a dismal to finish, particularly with the long service of Chiellini and Dybala coming to an end at the Artemio Franchi. A late penalty from Nicolas Gonzalez finished them off.
Fiorentina snatched the lead in first-half stoppage time when Juve failed to clear their lines from a ball hoisted hopefully into the box by Sofyan Amrabat
Giacomo Bonaventura prodded the ball away from a cluster of defenders, and Duncan lashed in from 12 yards for his second goal of the season.
Veteran defender Chiellini, having taken a blow to the face that saw blood pour from just above his left eye, was substituted at the break, replaced by Daniele Rugani. It was hardly how he would have wanted to bow out.
Fiorentina had 71.5 per cent of possession in the opening 45 minutes as the Bianconeri turned in a drab display.
Gonzalez then sent two shots just over the Juventus crossbar as Fiorentina pushed for a second goal early in the second half, while Bonaventura was denied a penalty after going down under a challenge from Adrien Rabiot.
Substitute goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio, who played the entire second half, kept Juventus in the game with a double save in the 78th minute from Krzysztof Piatek's header and Bonaventura's shot from the rebound. In keeping with the rest of the game, they showed little sign of taking advantage of the lifeline.
When Leonardo Bonucci tripped Lucas Torreira in stoppage time it was an obvious penalty, and Gonzalez made no mistake, finding the bottom-right corner.
What does it mean? Juve a work in progress
Juventus finish the season with 70 points, their lowest tally since a 58-point campaign in 2010-11.
Their worst effort since then had been last season's 78-point haul under Andrea Pirlo, and Allegri has a big rebuilding job on his hands.
The Bianconeri have taken one point from their final three games of the Serie A campaign, losing the Coppa Italia final to Inter during that time, too.
Fiorentina, who are operating on a far smaller budget and sold star man Dusan Vlahovic to Juve in January, will play in European competition next season for the first time since 2016/17, when they were eliminated in the round of 32 of the Europa League.
No way back for Juve
Juventus finish the season with a record of W0, D2, L6 when trailing at half-time in Serie A this season. A fightback never looked on, and they had only one shot across the entire game.
That was a season low for Juventus in Serie A, three worse than their previous low of four shots against Lazio, only last Monday (May 16). Also a season low was their expected goals (xG) tally of 0.08.
Chiellini goes out with a bang... to the head
Chiellini ended his career for Juventus after 561 appearances in all competitions: only Alessandro Del Piero (705) and Gianluigi Buffon (685) have played more games for the club.
He would have been a frustrated spectator in the second half, having taken a hefty hit to the head in the closing moments of the first half, putting himself about in a vain effort to prevent Fiorentina making their breakthrough.
Key Opta facts
- The Viola won a home Serie A meeting against Juve for the first time since January 15, 2017.
- Chiellini and Bonucci played their 200th and final Serie A match together for Juve.
- Fiorentina have gained more than 40 league points at home in a single Serie A campaign (41) for the first time since 2012/13 (43).
- Bonucci moved level with the great Dino Zoff to joint-seventh on the list of the most appearances in all competitions for Juventus (476).
The season is over for both, with Dybala and Chiellini waving goodbye to Juventus, who will play in next season's Champions League. Fiorentina join them in Europe after this assured display.