The importance of this game couldn’t be higher; this was an opportunity for Milan to stay on the shirt tales of Inter, while for Juventus it was more to do with pride and not to mention that the fate of Ciro Ferrara is hugely determined by the outcome of this game.
The game was cagey at first with both sides giving away possession and not really attacking with conviction. Juve did however have the first shot at goal with a Diego free kick in the fourth minute. The Brazialian again showed his class, when in the 13th minute he took on two Milan defenders but eventually his shot flashed just pass the face of the goal.
Both teams were rather untidy and loose with the ball, but the Rossoneri soon took control and continued to press The Old Lady. Again Juve were punished by their poor defending when in the 29th minute Alessandro Nesta of all people, opened the scoring. It culminated from a poor corner from Andrea Pirlo, but because Christian Poulsen and Felipe Melo failed to clear the ball at the near post, it fell perfectly for an unmarked Nesta to tap it in. This forced Juve to react, and react they did, when at the other end Giorgio Chiellini had an opportunity to restore the balance, but his attempt was quickly picked up by the Milan keeper.
Out of the two goalkeepers Alex Manninger was the busier of the two. After the first goal Juventus seemed rattled and were showing their frustrations by making late tackles. The second half saw a more aggressive approach from Juve. However, just when it seemed to be going Juve’s way, a set- piece from Pirlo found Ronaldinho who ultimately found the back of the net thanks to a deflection by Paolo De Ceglie. To the disgust of the home supporters the game ended 3-0 with Ronaldinho getting his second of the night in the 88th minute, when he controlled a cross in the six yard bow with his chest and slotted in.
Leonardo: “It is a journey and if we didn’t have the bad moments then maybe we wouldn’t be here in this condition.”
Ferrara: “It’s true we didn’t create much, but we held Milan down too.”
Juventus are now four points behind Milan in third place, while the Rossoneri also have a game in hand. The dream of the Scudetto is gone and surely Ciro Ferrera’s job will be soon. He decided to field a 4-4-1-1 formation with Amauri upfront with Diego just behind him. This formation barely helped Juve beat Parma in Wednesday’s match and they were extremely lucky to win that game through an own goal. Amauri was again not enough and Diego, who was a vast improvement of late, seemed very isolated and lacked the necessary support. If Ferrara keeps his position as coach he should reconsider a 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 formation. Tonight’s game should prove that at least two strikers are needed.
The implosion of The Bianconeri is not just the formation, as they have a few players either out injured or on suspension. Juventus are without Gianluigi Buffon due to a knee injury, David Trezeguet – who is suffering from an ankle injury picked up in the Parma game – while Vincenzo Iaquinta is another important name on the injury list. Now with Juve missing most of their strike force, fourth place doesn’t seem that bad, but not for the home supporters. They were so disgusted with the team’s performance that they set light to some parts of the stadium, and the resulting smoke descended on the pitch, covering it in an artificial fog.
Milan was also without some of their stars including Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta, Alexandre Pato, Massimo Oddo and Oguchi Onyewu. However they were able to pummel Juventus on their own turf in Turin. They were able to use the vast amount of experience they had to their advantage. David Beckham was one player who had an amazing work rate, and was always there to not only assist his fellow team mates but also took a shot whenever the opportunity presented itself. Another player who was in most of the action was Andrea Pirlo, as his set pieces set up two of the goals, and not to forget the man who scored two of the goals, Ronaldinho, who is said to be enjoying his time at Serie A more than his time spent at La Liga. In all the Rossoneri played the better football, deserved all three points, and showed the desire needed to be title contenders. As a result it is them and not Juventus who occupy second place, eight points behind leaders Inter but with a game in hand.
Juventus 0-3 Milan– Nesta 29, Ronaldinho 72, 88
Juventus (4-4-1-1): Manninger- Chiellini, Cannavaro, Grosso, Grygera – Poulsen (De Ceglie), Melo, Marchisio, Salihamidzic (Del Piero 60) – Amauri, Diego
Milan (4-2-3-1): Dida- Thiago, Nesta, Antonini, Abate – Pirlo,Ambrosini, Gattuso (Flamini 65) – Ronaldinho, Beckham, Borriello (Huntelaar 86)
8- Corners – 9
14 (4) – Shots ( on target) – 7 (4)
28 – Fouls – 15
2 (0) – Yellow cards ( Red) – 1 (0)
4 – Offside – 8