Defending Italian Champions Juventus have succumbed to a second loss to Milan opposition this year, going down 1-0 to AC Milan at the San Siro. In what was a fiery encounter, a controversial penalty proved the difference between the two sides as the Rossoneri move up into eighth position in the league.
In what was a must-win game for both sides—for very different reasons. Both sides came out firing, looking to grab the early ascendancy.
Milan surprisingly started the brighter of the two sides, with the front three combination of Robinho, El Shaarawy and Boateng causing all kinds of trouble for the Bianconeri. Robinho linked up with El Shaarawy early on, but was unable to get past a resolute Andrea Barzagli.
Juventus tried to push forward, but it was Milan who continued to look the more dangerous. Mattia De Sciglio was given space to charge down the right flank and release the first shot of the match, bringing the San Siro to its feet.
Despite a 3-0 sweeping aside of Chelsea, Juventus were under pressure, but enjoyed a long period of possession during the middle stages of the first half. Juventus right midfielder Mauricio Isla was seeing a lot of the ball. However, Kevin Constant was well up to the task of keeping the Chilean at bay, ensuring that any Juve attack was nullified.
Milan were looking dangerous on the counter. Unsurprisingly, El Shaarawy was proving impossible to deal with and it wasn't long until he had his first shot on goal. It proved to be a sign of things to come, as the Rossoneri pressed time after time. Robinho went close after being played through by De Sciglio before El Shaarawy tried his luck again from outside of the box.
Was a penalty the right decision?
Juventus were struggling with attacking options and despite back flicks from Vucinic and acrobatic efforts from Quagliarella, the Milan back line was proving impossible to penetrate.
With proceedings starting to settle, cue controversy. Cue a Mauricio Isla handball in the penalty area. Cue a penalty. Milan were awarded a penalty after the Chilean was alleged to have met Nocerino's header with his hand. Replays showed Isla's back was indeed the point of contact, but considering the Sulley Muntari incident last time these two sides met, perhaps it was karma.
Whatever you want to call it, Brazilian forward Robinho made no mistake from the spot, beating Buffon and putting Milan 1-0 up at the San Siro.
Down 1-0, Juventus continued to be pegged back inside their own half. Milan's front three were doing the damage, and with Giorgio Chiellini out, Milan were running rings around the side,leading the Serie A. Half-time couldn't come soon enough for Juventus, whose passing was becoming increasingly inaccurate as time went on.
Juventus manager Angelo Alessio made changes at the half-time interval, introducing Simone Padoin for a disappointing Isla. Padoin's introduction proved an effective introduction, as the Old Lady pushed for an equaliser.
Milan were seemingly content to sit back and allow Juventus to come at them. As such, Pirlo began to push forward, and when the former Milan midfielder found Padoin down the right-hand side, the Italian delivered a ball which was almost met by an audacious Giovinco bicycle kick.
Sebastian Giovinco was nearly involved yet again. This time a Mirko Vucinic square ball was played in behind the Italian across the face of the Milanese goal. A tap in would've delivered the much needed Juventus goal, but Vucinic's ball seemingly avoided contact with any Bianconeri.
Although Juventus held most of the possession in the second half, Milan were still looking likely to net a second on the counter attack. Nocerino blazed a ball over the bar, whilst Yepes was denied only by some Buffon brilliance following a corner.
In what was a last throw of the dice for Juventus, Giovinco picked out Mirko Vucinic unmarked in the Milan penalty area. The Montenegrin looked to have had beaten Amelia in goal, but was denied only by the last-ditch effort by Constant on the line.
Amidst tempers flaring, time wasting and long balls in the closing stages on the match Milan held on to record a much needed 1-0 win against Juventus. For the Bianconeri, questions about their ability to find the back of the net will surely be raised, but there will be no avoiding the controversy surrounding the awarding of the Milan penalty. The gap at the top of the Serie A could be cut to just a point if Inter Milan win overnight.
Full Time: AC Milan 1-0 Juventus