Quagliarella 24′, Del Piero 65′
The appeal to overturn the ban on Milos Krasić was rejected and Juventus lost Giorgio Chiellini during the warm-up to the game. Without two of their best players, the Bianconeri needed a small miracle to overcome Milan at San Siro. There was no miracle, but the team demonstrated an exemplary fighting spirit normally associated with Juventus, but which was sorely missing last season.
Milan fielded a trident attack with Robinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexandre Pato starting up front. The Rossoneri started the game aggressively as they launched a blitzkrieg on the Juve defence in the opening 20 minutes. Ibrahimovic came close to breaking the deadlock as his effort hit the crossbar. The Swedish international wasted a couple of more chances which could have put Milan in the driver’s seat.
However, the wasted chances were about to haunt the Rossoneri as Juventus took an unexpected lead.. Paolo De Ceglie whipped in a cross from the left wing and Fabio Quagliarella’s looping header gave Christian Abbiati no chance. Juventus were looking dangerous from this point onwards and threatened Milan on more than one occasion. The first blow for Juve came on 35th minute as De Ceglie clashed with Daniele Bonera in a painful collision. After hobbling for few minutes, he had to be substituted for Simone Pepe who switched wings with Marco Motta.
In the second half, Felipe Melo once again rose to the occasion as his goal line clearance from Ibrahimovic’s shot prevented the equalizer. Soon, the second injury blow struck for Juve as Jorge Martinez suddenly struggled with an injury and was replaced by Momo Sissoko. A critical error from Luca Antonini saw Sissoko one on one with keeper Abbiati. The Malian midfielder made a complete hash of the challenge as he stumbled over without actually shooting. However, he quickly composed himself and laid the ball for Alessandro Del Piero who rifled the shot past Abbiati. Del Piero is now the club’s highest ever goal scorer having broken Giampiero Boniperti’s record in the process.
This goal shocked Milan as they threw everything forward in an attempt to break the stubborn Juventus defence. However, the Bianconeri fought hard all over the pitch to keep Milan at bay. Antonini partially redeemed himself by providing a cross for Ibrahimovic to head home. The goal ensured a tense ending to the half, but the fighting spirit of Juve more than compensated for the makeshift defence, ultimately giving them three points in the end.
The way Juventus defended their lead was extremely admirable. Nicola Legrottaglie, who filled in for Chiellini, was very effective and gelled rather well with Leonardo Bonucci. De Ceglie was also defensively solid before he had to be removed. Pepe could be excused for Milan’s goal as right-back is not his natural position and Ibrahimovic is far stronger than him. Questions still remain on Marco Motta’s performance as he was the worst player in a Juve jersey.
2 Motta – 19 Bonucci- 33 Legrottaglie – 29 De Ceglie
8 Marchisio – 14 Aquilani – 5 Melo – 25 Martinez
18 Quagliarella – 10 Del Piero
41’ – 23 Pepe on for 29 De Ceglie
56’ – 5 Sissoko on for 25 Martínez
86’ – 11 Amauri on for 10 Del Piero