Current Italian champions AC Milan dispatched of rivals Juventus on Saturday at the San Siro. The clash ended 2-0 to the Rossoneri thanks to goals from Brahim Díaz and Fikayo Tomori, who got his redemption after a torrid midweek performance against Chelsea.
Milan controversially took the lead in first-half stoppage time through a Tomori header from a corner after the Juventus defence failed to deal with the ball in. However, the Old Lady felt that there was a foul on Juan Cuadrdado by Theo Hernandez in the build-up to the corner. But their appeals fell on deaf ears as the referee allowed the decision to stand. The goal came as a much-needed confidence booster to the England International, who was ran ragged during Milan’s UEFA Champions League defeat to Tomori’s former club Chelsea on Wednesday.
Spanish attacker Brahim Díaz scored a spectacular solo goal to make it 2-0, picking the ball up just inside his own half before skipping through a few challenges on his way to the Juve goal, and calmly slotting it past Wojciech Szczesny. This proved to be the knockout blow for Juventus who could not get back into the game, and now sit 7 points behind league-leaders Napoli who play Cremonese on Sunday.
Despite Juventus dominating the ball, having 61% possession to Milan’s 39%, the result was not at all undeserved as the Bionconeri registered 21 shots, more than double Juve’s tally of 10.
Milan manager Stefano Pioli spoke after the game and said that the occasion played a big part in motivating his players, given the status of both clubs as being two of Italy’s most successful teams.
“This was a very important game in Serie A, it always is between Milan and Juventus, so we had the right attitude from the start,” said Pioli to DAZN.
“We worked as a team today, unfortunately we lost our shape in London and got too intimidated by our own mistakes and the strength of the opponent. We know that if we work together, we can get positive results.
“The reason we didn’t do well in London is because we were not aggressive enough and we made too many unforced errors without needing Chelsea to be aggressive in their press against us.
Pioli also highlighted how the Rossoneri found success from a tactical point of view, especially with the injuries currently plaguing Milan.
“Clearly, missing both Messias and Saelemaekers takes away players who can run on the touchline, but we needed also today players to stop Juve passing it around in midfield, so we put Leao on one side and Brahim on the other.
“We had the necessary width to spread Juve’s defence, but also more solidity in the middle of the park.”
Milan needed the win to stay in touch with Napoli and to keep their chances of retaining the Scudetto alive. Furthermore, the victory gave the players a lift ahead of the return fixture against Chelsea at the San Siro on Tuesday, a match they’ll be desperate to win given they sit 3rd in their UCL group.
Juventus, on the other hand, have seen their title hopes slip away in early October, a shocking return for the record Serie A winners. Max Allegri’s side face a trip to Maccabi Haifa in midweek, hoping to build confidence ahead of their Turin-derby against Torino next week.