As anticipated, Juventus grabbed all three points against AC Milan at the Allianz Stadium this evening. However, they had to work a lot harder than perhaps expected, as the Rossoneri were on par with the home side for a majority of the game.
Many expected the Bianconeri to instantly take control of the game. However, after just ten minutes of play, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for Sarri’s men. Both sides misplaced many passes, which resulted in sloppy end-to-end play at the beginning.
The game eventually settled but not in Juve’s favour, as Milan were allowed to own quite a lot of the possession, while also working their way through a few good chances. 17 minutes into the game, Pioli’s men had their first dangerous chance, courtesy of Piatek. However, the Pole failed to convert Suso’s wonderful cross as he headed it wide.
Just eight minutes latter, Paqueta followed up on the initiative as he nearly scored with a looping header. Bennacer combined well with Conti to split the Bianconeri defence, eventually picking out the Brazilian in the box. However, Szczesny made a fantastic save to deny Milan an opener.
Both sides then proceeded to try and take control of the game. As a result of this, chances were created on both ends, but nothing ever materialized as the defenders stood tall. Bennacer was booked just before the half-time whistle, which means that he will miss the game against Napoli.
Juventus made an attempt to put their foot down at the start of the second half, upping the tempo of their play. However, the Rossoneri managed to weather the storm and a majority of the last 45 minutes looked a lot like the first half. In other words, Milan continued to do well against a very strong opponent.
Pioli decided to bring on Bonaventura and Leao, switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Paqueta then dropped down as one of the holding midfielders, which worked surprisingly well. The new system offered them more coverage in the defensive phase, as Juve insisted to attack down the flanks.
With 13 minutes left of the clash, though, they succumbed to a piece of individual brilliance. Dybala combined with Higuain to catch Romagnoli by surprise, breaking the deadlock with his right foot. Of course, after a very good performance, this was like a cold shower for the San Siro side.
They didn’t back down straight away, though, as they immediately pushed forward for an equaliser. They came close on a few occasions, but the crucial final touch was missing this evening. Furthermore, Calhanoglu was booked in injury time, meaning he will also miss the important Napoli game.
That said, there are a lot of positives to take from the game. Above all, today’s performance proved that Milan have the potential to become a very good team, although it might take some time to get everything up and running properly.
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