Weston McKennie made his triumphant return to the field for Juventus in their last game of the Serie A season, while Patrick Leal made his Venezia debut in their final game before the team begins life in Serie B.
Fiorentina 2 – 0 Juventus
A largely meaningless season finale for Juventus ended in a shut-out loss to Fiorentina, however the result was overshadowed by the final club appearance of legend Giorgio Chiellini and, to a lesser degree, the return of McKennie after an injury absence.
Heading into the game, the Bianconeri had already secured at least fourth place in the Serie A standings, ensuring their spot in Europe’s top competition, after what had been a record-worst start to the season several months ago.
Most notably, the game marked the last Juventus appearance for club legend Giorgio Chiellini, who racked up 425 Serie A appearances and 27 goals with the club, and overall 561 appearances and 36 goals in all competitions with the Bianconeri since joining in 2004.
Nevertheless, the hosts took the lead a few seconds into first-half injury time, with a loose ball clattering around the Juventus area for a few seconds, before Alfred Duncan opportunistically launched a ten-yard blast for the advantage.
McKennie made his faster-than-predicted return in the 77th minute, entering the game alongside Dusan Vlahovic as a part of a double-switch. In his limited time, he didn’t manage any shots or set up any chances for teammates, but complete four of six passes and won his only attempted tackle.
In the end, a comeback wasn’t in the cards for the visitors, and the Fiorentina victory was sealed in injury time when Leonardo Bonucci tripped up Lucas Torreira at the left edge of the six-yard box, allowing Nicolas González to bury his spot kick for the 2-0 victory.
Juventus end the season in fourth place, completing their first season since the 2010-11 term without any trophies. They do still automatically qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League group stage, and will begin their next Serie A campaign in late-August.
McKennie, having been called up by Gregg Berhalter for the USMNT squad, will report to Cincinnati in the coming days.
Venezia FC 0 – 0 Cagliari
Both Tanner Tessmann and Venezia youth Yank Patrick Leal featured for the team in their final game before a return to Serie B, as they held Cagliari to a scoreless draw to break their long losing streak.
Gianluca Busio was on Venezia’s bench, but not called into action.
With their relegation already confirmed heading into the game, Venezia had little left to play for other than pride and the possibility to directly impact the fate of their opponents Cagliari, who needed a win in order to assure their own survival.
Feeling the pressure, the visitors were the clear aggressors from start to finish, launching 31 shots in comparison to Venezia’s seven, and committing a remarkable 19 fouls over the course of the 90 minutes.
In the end, their lack of precision left them scoreless and without ideas, and joining their hosts on a trip to the Italian second tier.
Tessmann was called into action in the 73rd minute in place of forward Michaël Cuisance as the team tried to slow the game down, and was proficient in his time on the field, completing five of eight passing attempts, beating the opposing defender on his lone dribble attempt, and creating one late chance for Ridgeciano Haps.
Leal had his first drink of water in the top-flight in the waning moments, entering the game for midfielder Dor Peretz.
While the result does little to turn around Venezia’s fortunes, as they finish the once-promising season in last place, far from safety, they can take some solace since preventing Cagliari from winning means that they dragged their opponents down with them.
Tessmann and Busio will have the summer free from any international duty, with Busio a likely candidate to be transferred to another top-flight team. Having made his debut, Leal could be active with the USMNT U-20 team this summer as they try to qualify for the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics