Sunday, November 25, 2012
Match Review: Milan 1-0 Juventus
Massimiliano Allegri's men saw the first chance of the match as youngster Mattia De Sciglio burst inside from the right flank and let fly from distance, going just wide of the far post.
At the other end, Arturo Vidal went for goal following a set-piece, but blazed over the crossbar from outside the area.
Troubled Ghanaian Kevin-Prince Boateng, who Allegri deployed as a false number 9 on the day, had a pair of opportunities with a header from close range and a shot from the right side of the box, but could not find the back of the net either time.
Marco Amelia smothered twin efforts from Fabio Quagliarella, whilst Stephan El Shaarawy was first blocked outside the box before forcing Gianluigi Buffon into an admittedly comfortable a save low to his right on the counter as the match took on a wide open feel.
On 30 minutes, Milan found themselves fortunate as the referee pointed to the spot as Mauricio Isla flew in to block an Antonio Nocerino header with his arm extended. Replays suggest that the ball actually hit the Chilean in the ribs, but the Rossoneri nonetheless were awarded a penalty, which Robinho powerfully dispatched despite Buffon getting a touch.
Leonardo Bonucci received a yellow for tripping El Shaarawy as the prolific 20 year-old sprinted towards the box on the break, but Riccardo Montolivo's effort from the resulting free-kick dribbled weakly to Buffon after being tamed by the wall.
Simone Padoin replaced Isla at half in a curious decision given that the 28 year old had recorded only 43 minutes of playing time on the campaign. On 48 minutes Juventus nearly went 2 down as Buffon made an uncharacteristic error in giving the ball away to El Sharaawy with a lazy pass, but Andrea Barzagli was on hand to make a crucial intervention to avert disaster.
The Bianconeri began to wake up as the second half entered full swing, seeing the majority of the possession and forcing the home side into their own end for a prolonged period of time. However, Conte's men had a difficult time finding the killer ball as Mirko Vucinic had a shot blocked away and substitute Sebastian Giovinco went wide of the mark with an attempted overhead kick.
Milan remained dangerous on the counter as Nocerino embarked on a long, rambling run towards the Juventus box, but the Italy international fizzed just wide of the far post from an excellent shooting position at the edge of the area.
On 83 minutes, Mario Yepes won a header from an El Shaarawy cross to test Buffon, but the Juventus and Italy legend calmly plucked the bounding attempt out of the air to his right.
At the other end, Giovinco burst down the left side of the area to pull back for Vucinic, but the Montenegrin's first-time shot was crucially blocked off the line by Yepes.
Juventus appeared to have won a penalty late on as Caceres played the Atomic Ant in on goal where he seemed to be fouled by the onrushing Amelia, but the flag had correctly been raised to quell the danger.
The Bianconeri were unable to muster a shot in 4 minutes of added time, which saw Yepes and Giovinco receive matching yellow cards just before full time after a confrontation on the byline between the contrastingly-sized rivals.
The final whistle brought immense joy to the Rossoneri faithful, as a simultaneous roar of approval from the crowd confirmed Milan's climb back into the top 10 of the table with the three points.
Man of the Match: Riccardo Montolivo, Milan (87% passing; 4 shots; 4 dribbles; 5 tackles)
Robinho (Pen. 31')