2 – 0
The match had been tipped as one between the two sides that shall contend for the title this season, and despite the fact that the match might not have a decisive impact in the larger scheme of things, the anxiety before the game was for all to see, and it was a game that saw Milan’s prodigal son Andrea Pirlo(and also Alessandro Matri) play against his old team while as many as 6 Milan players- Abbiati, Zambrotta, Ibrahimovic, Nocerino, Aquilani and Inzaghi faced their old employers. Th clash was billed to be heavy duty and it was exactly that, but the result was just like the match had been, heavily one sided where in Juventus dominated Milan for large parts of the game with the ‘grinta’ that had been missing in the Juventus camp in the previous seasons now evident for all to see.
As for the match itself, Juventus came out aggressively right from the get go in a match that was the first realistic test of their title credentials and to reverse the trend of consecutive Milan victories on their home turf. The match began at a frantic pace, with both Milan and Juventus trying to seize the initiative but it was Bianconero Stefan Lichtsteiner who was the first to fire a shot at goal and Abbiati barely managed to turn it over before Abbiati denied Pirlo off a free kick just before the half hour mark.
The first half went in much the same manner with Juventus continuing to pepper the Milanese goal, with first Marchisio and then Vucinic on the turn testing the Milan custodian. But it was on 37 minutes than Juventus came the closest through Vucinic who tried to lob the ball over Abbiati’s head only to see Abbiati parry it onto the crossbar and then bouncing back out. Juve were dominating as time went on, but Marchisio failed to get power on the finish after a wonderful take and volley on Vidal’s ball over the top. Vucinic flashed a shot across the face of goal, whistling past the far post.
And the second period started just like how the first had ended, Pirlo’s early cross found Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci at the end of it but Abbiati somehow managed to save it from point blank range to maintain parity in the game. Immediately afterwards at the other end, Boateng volleyed Antionio Cassano’s intelligent pass back across Gianluigi Buffon’s goal and what was seemingly a goal, saw arguably the save of the match as Gigi Buffon some how parried it away.
Later in the second half, Milan’s defensive lynch pin Nesta finally succumbed to his niggling injury which resulted in Bonera coming in as a centre half with Nesta’s substitute Luca Antonini occupying the fullback’s role. Vidal flashed a dangerous daisy-cutter inches past the far post after Pirlo’s dummy let the pass through. Vucinic went even closer, as his curler shaved a coat of paint off the same stick.
However, three minutes from time Juventus finally took a well deserved lead through Italian international midfielder Claudio Marchisio rather fortuitously. After a neat 1-2 with Vucinic, Marchisio enter the eighteen yard box only to see Bonera’s attempted clearance bundle into the goal after getting ricocheted off his shin.
There was further misery to come for Milan in the 89th minute as Ghanian star Kevin Prince Boateng was given his marching orders by the referee for a second bookable offence for trying to lash out an arm which caught Giorgio Chiellini on the face leaving the Italian with blood on his face which eventually needed medical attention.
Milan’s embarrassment was complete in the third minute of the stoppage time, after Marchisio let fly one from long range that somehow slipped through Milan keeper’s hands and into the goal, there by giving Marchisio his brace against the champions in front of cheering and hollering Juventus fans in the Juventus stadium.
Man of the Match- Claudio Marchisio
The Italian international midfielder was a star in midfield for Juventus and while both his goals might have had an element of luck in them, but Marchisio provided a match winning contribution to his team and condemned Milan to obscurity in the game as he along with Vidal and Pirlo dominated the Milan midfield from the get go. Not to forget his movement through out the game was quite good, so were his one-two’s with Vucinic.
Flop of the Match– Christian Abbiati
The Milan keeper was the best Milan players on the pitch but only for 87 minutes and in the six minutes that followed he undid all his good work. He had a catastrophic final few minutes in the game. He was slow to react to Marchisio’s opener and then let in another goal after Marchiso’s long range effort some how crept through his legs. All in all, Abbiati would really like to forget the final few minutes of his return to Juventus.
What the players thought of the match?
“They were the better team. The loss, which we almost managed to avoid, is the right result. We shouldn’t lose heart, though, the [international] break now will do us good.
I think they did well to change their tactics for the game, we had some trouble pressing them. But it’s no use over-analysing the game now. We knew that they would be up for the match and they were. Andrea [Pirlo] had a great game, he played well. We were under pressure from the start and we couldn’t impose our game on them and create chances.”
– Clarence Seedorf, AC Milan
“We believed in winning until the end and this showed in our first goal. What matters is winning and we never lacked motivation. We started well, but it was not easy to win tonight. However, lets take this win now, we deserved it, the stadium deserved it.
We never gave up and I am delighted. We are always working to reach the top so we can challenge teams like Udinese, Roma, Milan, Napoli, Inter and Lazio.”
– Claudio Marchisio, Juventus
” It was a tough game, they were better than us. The result is the right one. They were better on all levels. We didn’t get our game together. Congratulations to them for a match well played.”
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan
“Juventus had a great match, while we were not up to the task. I am not happy with the result, but they did more than us. It is a shame to concede four minutes before the end – despite our poor performance we were hoping to bring home one point. It is normal that after a month and a half with the same players they get tired.”
– Massimilano Allegri, AC Milan Head Coach
“We are still studying to be a big team, but tonight’s game proved we are on the right track. We have many great players, but this year we need them to become champions.It’s too early to make predictions or pick ambitious targets. Tonight was our first big test and if we had got it wrong, I’m well aware we’d have been massacred in the media.”
– Antonio Conte, Juventus Head Coach
- Claudio Marchisio: Juventus deserved to beat AC Milan 2-0 (goal.com)
- AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Juventus was better than us on all levels (goal.com)
- Juventus-AC Milan,official line ups (acmilanonline.tk)