Juventus fans said goodbye to their captain, Giorgio Chiellini, and forward Paolo Dybala during Monday night’s game against Lazio – but the visitors’ last-gasp equaliser spoiled the farewell party in Turin.
Chiellini had recently announced he was leaving Juve this summer after 17 seasons at the club – with MLS in the United States a likely destination. The centre-back was substituted in the 17th minute, taking off the captain’s armband and giving it to Dybala before being replaced by Matthijs de Ligt.
By that time, striker Dusan Vlahovic had already scored the opener from Álvaro Morata’s assist. While Chiellini shook hands with fans and blew kisses to the crowd, Morata got on the scoresheet himself to put Juve in control of their final home game of the season.
While Juventus were already guaranteed to finish fourth, the visitors were looking to secure their Europa League place before the final round of games – and got back into the match soon after half time, thanks to an own goal from Alex Sandro.
With the hosts holding on to their lead, Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri took Dybala off with 12 minutes left, allowing him his moment of applause before he too leaves the club. The Argentina forward, who joined the club in 2015, was visibly distraught after leaving the Allianz Stadium pitch.
Dybala’s contract expires this summer and he tweeted on Sunday that this would be his final game for Juventus. “Tomorrow will be my last match with this shirt, it’s hard to imagine, but it will be our last farewell,” he wrote.
There was still time for a late twist as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored with virtually the last kick of the game for Lazio, sealing a top-six finish. Maurizio Sarri’s team have moved four points clear of seventh-placed Fiorentina, who lost 4-1 at Sampdoria in Monday’s other match. La Viola will host Juve on Sunday in the season’s final round.
“Tonight was a wonderful evening, full of emotions,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia after the game. “The evening of Chiellini and Dybala. A few videos of Chiellini should be sent to our training ground to show how he applies himself.”
“Dybala was an important player for seven years,” the manager added. “The fans gave him a well-deserved tribute. It would have been nice to finish with a win for them, but tonight’s game sums up our year. We need to get used to winning again.”