AC Milan 0-2 Juventus
AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain was at the spotlight in the club’s defeat to reigning Serie A champions Juventus, and not for a good reason.
Higuain, who lost his place in Juventus after the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, missed a game-tying penalty at halftime and was sent off with seven minutes remaining in regular time in what was a disastrous day for him and the team at San Siro.
Making matters worse for the Argentine, Ronaldo showed why the Bianconeri chose him as he scored the second goal to put the game to rest.
Highlights of the game
It didn’t take long for the Bianconeri to establish their dominance in the game, breaking the deadlock on eight minutes following a surprise header from Mario Mandzukic.
Alex Sandro launched a deep cross to the back post and Mandzukic, reading the trajectory of the ball well, was right in the spot to convert. The Croatian forward—known for his aerial prowess—outleapt Milan’s Ricardo Rodriguez for the ball and swiftly fired a bouncing header to stun keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Madnzukic had a couple more opportunities to put Juventus ahead, particularly in the 26th minute when he was set to replicate his eighth-minute header after a Joao Cancelo cross. However, 23-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli beat him to the ball and averted what could have been a huge Milan crisis.
The next best opportunity fell on Higuain when Medhi Benatia was called for a handball. After VAR review of the play, the referee pointed to the spot, supposedly gifting Gennaro Gattuso’s men an easy equaliser.
Nonetheless, in a brutal turn of events, Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny produced a moment of brilliance and denied Higuain’s effort. The Polish shot-stopper jumped to his left-hand side and tipped the Argentine’s shot onto the post to keep Juve ahead at the break.
Wojciech Szczesny saves a penalty attempt by Gonzalo Higuain during their Serie A clash
Milan showed more determination at the restart, but it wasn’t enough to break the Juve defence.
Both Hakan Calhanoglu and Rodriguez had chances of their own, but their efforts didn’t really come close to the net.
Max Allegri’s charges stayed in the front foot throughout the second half and had much more initiative on the offensive end. Paulo Dybala, who needed less than a minute to score in their 3-1 win over Cagliari, hit the right post and even saw a free-kick parried away by Donnarumma.
The team wouldn’t be denied of a second, though, and they got what they wanted on 81 minutes. After Donnarumma parried away a right-footed shot from Cancelo, an unmarked Ronaldo pounced on the rebound and swiftly sent the ball to the top.
It was game over after that, but the drama didn’t stop there. Two minutes later, a frustrated Higuain was booked for a foul on Benatia. The 30-year-old then reacted angrily to the call and shouted in the referee’s face, leaving the match official with no other choice but to give him a straight red card.
The Serie A 2018 odds at us expected Milan to put up a fight, but that was never the case.
In fact, Juventus completely dominated and were a little unfortunate not to score more. According to the post-match statistics, the Old Lady of Turin had the lion’s share of possession at 57 percent and finished with a total of 12 shots—eight of which were on target.
Moreover, they forced Milan to a total of five saves, one of which was crucial.
Gattuso’s side had five total attempts, including only two on-target shots. They also committed 16 fouls, which resulted in three yellow cards and one red card.
In other Serie A 2018 news, the victory meant that Juventus now have 34 points through 12 games. Remarkably, it is the first time in league history that a team has accumulated that many points at this stage of the campaign.
For what it’s worth, Juve made just 31 points in their first 12 games of the 2017-18 campaign.
Juventus are now six points clear of second-placed Napoli and nine ahead of third-placed Inter Milan, who recently suffered a shock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Atalanta.
The international break gives Juventus and their fellow Italian top-flight teams a two-week break before returning to regular programming.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring Juventus’ 2nd goal against AC Milan
Juventus face SPAL next in a bid to stay undefeated in the Serie A. After that, they host Valencia in the Champions League with high hopes of finally securing their spot in the next round.
AC Milan, meanwhile, have a high-profile match against Lazio in their return followed by a Europa League match against Luxembourg-based squad F91 Dudelange.
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