Juventus 4-2 Milan: The Inter Antidote Is Here, It’s a Black & White Pill (Serie A Matchday 16)

“Anti-Inter”. A big phrase for Italian newspapers this week-end, as indeed Sunday’s Juventus vs. AC Milan presented itself as a revealing showdown. One to determine the Nerazzurri’s real contender for the Scudetto race, one to decide historical bragging rights between two teams who, in the past two decades, have won more Serie A champions titles than any other team.

Well, at the end of a dramatically intense and exciting match the Bianconeri have claimed those rights, and thus kept within distance of the Inter “enemy”. On Sunday, the Old Lady won thanks to their playing rhythm, the youthful strength of Marchisio, Sissoko and De Ceglie, but also thanks to the exceptional attacking prowess of the Del Piero-Amauri tandem, a tremendous combination of class and power. Milan displayed some pride and quality, but they lacked physical and playing continuity. It was a night in which the absences of Kaká and Gattuso felt very heavy indeed.

Note: I am still without my computer. Right now I can only post through an old Compaq 900 laptop from the pre-war era. For Juve-AC Milan though, some sacrifices have to made. ;)

Juventus vs. AC Milan (Serie A)


Tactically, as mentioned, Carlo Ancelotti had a real head-scratcher to deal with in the absences of Kaká and Gattuso. To make matters worse, Mathieu Flamini, the de-facto replacement of the gnarly Italian defensive mid, was also unavailable, which forced the AC Milan coach to put his faith in Emerson. Not exactly an equal-quality exchange, as we will see later. Up front, Seedorf and Ronaldinho supported the lone striker Alexandre Pato. On the other end, Ranieri fielded his usual 4-4-2 wing-attack formation, with Camoranesi (still unavailable) replaced by Marchionni on the right wing, and the in-form pair Del Piero-Amauri in attack.

Right from the get-go (and much to the spectators’ delight), the match was an open contest. Juve set out at a furious pace, characterizing the Bianconeri’s excellent first half; their strong fitness & physical level seriously troubled Milan, who really struggled to keep up. To think that out of the two teams, the one with the mid-week European action had been Juventus (Milan had the week off in the UEFA Cup) seemed almost unreal.

The first goal arrived just 15 minutes into the game: Molinaro made a low pass for Alessandro Del Piero, who was upended inside the box by Jankulovski. While doubts regarding the call were cleared very fast with video replays, it must be said the Juve captain was offside when the pass was made. Regardless, with a powerful kick from the spot Ale scored his 251st goal for Juve, his 5th in Serie A and 10th of the season. 1-0 Juventus.

Milan’s response was immediate. After two big scares for Manninger (an Ambrosini unbelievable point-blank header miss, and a Pirlo venomous free-kick parried by the goalkeeper), the equalizing goal bore the signature of Alexandre Pato, receiving a pinpoint pass from the left bt Ronaldinho. 1-1.

Psychologically, the Bianconeri could have justifiably slowed down, also because in the meantime they had lost Nedved through injury (his replacement, Paolo De Ceglie, proved to be more than adequate). Instead, Juventus threw themselves forward, with powerful figures like Sissoko in the middle and Chiellini at the back. And proceeded to take the lead again. A corner from the left by Del Piero found the noggin of an unmarked Giorgio Chiellini (Ambrosini and Emerson were out catching butterflies in the meantime) and it was 2-0 Juventus.

But the Bianconeri weren’t quite finished yet. De Ceglie took off on the left wing (once again, forgotten by Emerson), sent in a measured cross which Amauri converted into a powerful 3-1 header. Juve was looking to run riot, getting close to a fourth with Marchisio (shot wide after a wild penetration forward).

At half-time and after 47 entertaining minutes the score was 3-1. Milan had not played badly, but certainly paid the price for their slower pace: a clumsy defence (especially on defending set-pieces, but what else is new) and the absences of Gattuso/Flamini/Kaka were sorely felt, while on the other end the Bianconeri’s wing-attacks had been devastating (Marchionni was playing sharply and De Ceglie had immediately made an impact after his entrance).

Thus, Ancelotti had to make some changes for the second half, Milan needed to bolster their attack: out with the almost invisible Emerson, in with Andriy Shevchenko (another phantom of sorts as it would turn out, but I digress). And so, after a lot of huffing and puffing Milan did manage to get one back, when a good passing combination in the center was finalized with a long-range drive by Massimo Ambrosini. The double deflection of Marchionni and Chiellini deceived Manninger, and it was 3-2: game on again. To think that just a few minutes earlier Sissoko, Marchionni and Marchisio had tried very dangerous long range strikes just narrowly missing the target.

Milan fancied their chances now, and attacked en masse. The Rossoneri’s enthusiasm was short-lived however, because on yet another one of his wild runs forward De Ceglie got free of Zambrotta on the left, forcing the Milan right-back to bring him down. Second yellow and early shower for the ex-Juve player.

Everything changed. Juve got their strength and morale back, Ancelotti gambled on playing with a 3-man backline. Amauri punished him. Exchanging passes with Sissoko on the edge of the box, the Brazilian forward got rid of his marker and beat Abbiati with an acrobatic left-footed instep. A stylish goal for a stylish victory, 4-2 Juventus. Before the match ended, the Bianconeri could have even scored two more through Del Piero (hitting the woodwork after a lovely fake) and Iaquinta (blasting wide from 6 yards out). The Inter chase is on.


 Juventus F.C.
[Match Highlights]
A.C. Milan
GOALSCORERS: 16′ Del Piero (J), 31′ Pato (M), 34′ Chiellini (J), 41′, 69′ Amauri (J), 56′ Ambrosini (M).
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Manninger – Grygera, Mellberg, Chiellini, Molinaro – Marchionni, Sissoko (88′ C.Zanetti), Marchisio, Nedved (30’ De Ceglie) – Amauri (89′ Iaquinta), Del Piero. (bench: Chimenti, Ariaudo, Salihamidzic, Giovinco). Coach: Ranieri.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski – Emerson (46′ Shevchenko), Pirlo, Ambrosini (73′ Antonini) – Seedorf, Ronaldinho – Pato (75′ F.Inzaghi). (bench: Dida, Senderos, Favalli, Cardacio). Coach: Ancelotti.


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Posted in Juventus, Milan, Serie A |

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  • One Response to “Juventus 4-2 Milan: The Inter Antidote Is Here, It’s a Black & White Pill (Serie A Matchday 16)”

    1. Riccardo says:

      Ciao..ti ho aggiunto nella home nel mio blogroll…come lettore e tra i preferiti..spero che sarà un linkaggio reciproco..intanto complimenti per il tuo bel blog