Chiellini says goodbye to Juve fans as last-gasp Lazio make Europa League
Giorgio Chiellini bid farewell to Juventus fans on Monday in his last home match for the Turin giants, a disappointing 2-2 draw which earned Lazio a place in the Europa League after Sergej Milinkovic-Savic levelled with the last kick of the game.
Fans chanted “there’s only one captain” as a giant choreography depicting his shirt number ‘3’ was displayed in the stands ahead of the match and they then gave Chiellini a huge round of applause after he was substituted in the 18th minute.
The 37-year-old had played the full 120 minutes of Juve’s Italian Cup final defeat to arch rivals Inter Milan on Wednesday, after which he announced that he would be leaving Juve after 18 years at a club where he has won nine league titles and a clutch of other trophies.
When he left the field he handed his captain’s armband to another player on the way out — Paulo Dybala.
Argentina international Dybala will leave at the end of the season after the club decided not to renew his contract after a verbal agreement with the 28-year-old struck in the autumn was publicly rejected by the club earlier this year.
Dusan Vlahovic did the Argentine’s “mask” celebration when he headed in the opener in the 10th minute, and when Dybala was substituted with 12 minutes remaining, with the hosts leading 2-1, he did a tour of the stands and was embraced by fans.
Juve looked to be cruising to a routine home win to honour their two departing heroes when Alvaro Morata doubled the hosts lead in the 36th minute.
However Alex Sandro poked into his own net for no apparent reason five minutes after the break and Maurizio Sarri’s Lazio pushed for a leveller which came in the 95th minute, Milinkovic-Savic rifling past Mattia Perin from a tight angle to give Lazio a spot in Europe’s second-tier competition.
They sit fifth in one of two Europa League places, four points away from seventh-placed Fiorentina, who were hammered 4-1 at a Sampdoria side in party mood.
Samp were guaranteed their top flight status on Sunday after Cagliari were beaten 3-1 by title-chasing Inter Milan, leaving Marco Giampaolo’s side four points above the drop zone before they kicked off in their penultimate fixture of the season.