Milan doomed Juventus to their second defeat of the season, but earned it with an extremely controversial Robinho penalty. The Bianconeri dominated possession at San Siro, though struggled to create clear-cut chances in their first away loss in 18 months.
This was a Scudetto showdown nine months ago, ending 1-1 with Sulley Muntari’s ‘phantom goal’ not seen by officials. Going into this game, the Rossoneri were in 13th place and 17 points adrift of leaders Juventus.
They were also without Massimo Ambrosini, Daniele Bonera, Alexandre Pato, Luca Antonini, Muntari and Djamel Mesbah, so Robinho returned to the trident. Giorgio Chiellini didn’t make the trip due to a calf strain and was replaced by Martin Caceres, but Leonardo Bonucci recovered from a stomach bug and Andrea Pirlo’s ban expired. Mauricio Isla was preferred to Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Christian Abbiati pulled out in the warm-up with back pain, so Marco Amelia was a last-minute replacement and the captain’s armband given to Riccardo Montolivo. President Silvio Berlusconi and former Milan legend Marco Van Basten were in the stands.
Mattia De Sciglio’s angled drive whistled just wide, then Gigi Buffon used his feet to parry Kevin-Prince Boateng’s strike at the near post from a Robinho assist.
A deflected Fabio Quagliarella effort was easily held by Amelia and the crowd were irritated when Robinho went down under a Pirlo challenge and the referee waved play on. El Shaarawy’s finish on the counter was weak and into Buffon’s arms.
The referee pointed to the spot on the half-hour when Isla stuck out an arm when blocking Antonio Nocerino’s header, though replays suggest the ball actually hit him on the ribs. Robinho stepped up and Buffon did get his hand to it, but the power took it through anyway at the near bottom corner for the Brazilian’s first goal of the season.
Another Boateng counter was wasted when his shot was deflected meekly into Buffon’s grasp, but Juve struggled to muster much of a reaction. Bonucci was booked for tripping El Shaarawy on a rapid counter just before the break, but Montolivo’s free kick went through the wall and into Buffon’s hands.
Simone Padoin was the surprising replacement for a disappointing Isla, leaving Lichtsteiner on the bench. Sebastian Giovinco then came on for Quagliarella after a Pirlo free kick was deflected out off the wall, but the Neapolitan was evidently not happy and muttered something to Angelo Alessio while covering his mouth with his jacket.
On 61 minutes Amelia punched away a cross and Pirlo put it back in for Mirko Vucinic’s deflected shot. Giovinco went for an audacious overhead kick from 12 yards on Padoin’s cross, but shinned it off target.
Juve were pouring forward now with Milan concentrating on the counter, where Montolivo had a shot charged down in the box and Nocerino blasted over the bar.
Philippe Mexes went off with a recurrence of his ankle injury and Paul Pogba was Juve’s final substitution. El Shaarawy’s roll across for Giampaolo Pazzini was put out for a corner by Bonucci.
The home fans unveiled a banner for Pato that read: ‘Anyone with Milan in their heart does not call their agent.’ It was a reference to his comment that he wanted to play more regularly and would talk with his representatives.
Mario Yepes got his head to a corner, but Buffon had it under control. Moments later Giovinco pounced on a defensive error and pulled back for Vucinic, whose shot was cleared off the line by Kevin Constant from seven yards.
Vucinic tried with an angled drive from distance that bounced in front of Amelia and the goalkeeper palmed it round the post. A clearance to the edge of the box saw Marchisio’s effort deflected out for a corner, as Juventus continued to push without creating many clear-cut chances.
Giovinco was offside on 89 minutes, much to Amelia’s relief as the goalkeeper then chopped him down.