SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 33 - 21 Apr 2013 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 1 - 0 Milan
Vidal pen 57 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Arturo Vidal’s perfect penalty gave Juventus victory over an uninspired Milan, putting them closer to the title and leaving the Rossoneri only one point clear of Fiorentina in third. Juve now need four points from the last five rounds to clinch the championship.

Last season this was a Scudetto showdown, but this time round the Rossoneri were pushing to challenge Napoli for second place and aiming to stay clear of Fiorentina in fourth. Mario Balotelli and Mathieu Flamini sat out bans, but Massimo Ambrosini returned from injury. Stephan El Shaarawy was back in the starting XI after he was surprisingly dropped against Napoli, but Kevin-Prince Boateng moved into midfield to make way for Giampaolo Pazzini and Robinho. Juve had Giorgio Chiellini after an ankle injury, though Sebastian Giovinco, Nicolas Anelka and Simone Pepe were sidelined. Once again, Claudio Marchisio acted as support striker so there was room for Paul Pogba.

Andrea Pirlo almost opened the scoring against his former club, as a free kick took a deflection off the wall and Christian Abbiati changed direction to palm it off the line. The goalkeeper hurt his knee during that move and after a while limped off to make way for Marco Amelia. This was the fifth time in three seasons Abbiati had to be substituted due to injury.

An acrobatic Pogba overhead kick from Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross whistled wide, then Ambrosini pounced on a Pirlo error only to drill off target. Robinho also hit the side-netting after Mirko Vucinic gave possession away.

Another Pirlo free kick went over the wall, but into Amelia’s arms, while Vucinic was just unable to get a touch to Lichtsteiner’s assist as he came sliding in.

Ambrosini also needed treatment with a strong bandage applied to his ankle before the break, as injuries were beginning to take their toll on the Milan squad. Sulley Muntari replaced the captain for the second half, as the armband want to Riccardo Montolivo.

Chiellini nodded over from a corner and a deflected Marchisio strike was smothered by Amelia, while Philippe Mexes pushed forward and fired straight at Buffon. Cristian Zapata used his strength to prevent Vucinic pulling the trigger from a defence-splitting pass.

Just shy of the hour mark, Ignazio Abate let a pass go through so Kwadwo Asamoah burst into the box and Amelia rushed off his line, clattering into the Ghanaian for a clear penalty. Arturo Vidal stepped up and placed a perfect spot-kick into the top corner.

Pogba nodded a corner over the bar and then set up Vucinic for a shot that Mexes crucially charged down. A dangerous Pirlo cross was not cleared effectively, but Chiellini couldn’t quite get it out from under his feet. From that corner, Leonardo Bonucci shinned a volley into Amelia’s arms.

A fine Boateng run down the right saw him roll the ball across for Pazzini, but Bonucci got there first to prevent the tap-in. Muntari’s snapshot and a swerving Montolivo long-range effort were smothered by Buffon.

Mexes fired wide from a free kick, but Pazzini had been flagged offside anyway, while Montolivo’s angled drive was again easy pickings for Buffon. These attempts summed up Milan’s performance, as they had 58% of possession in Turin, but barely troubled the goalkeeper.


Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Padoin 81), Pogba, Pirlo, Vidal, Asamoah (Peluso 92); Marchisio; Vucinic (Quagliarella 90)
Milan: Abbiati (Amelia 15); Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, Ambrosini (Muntari 46), Boateng; Pazzini, El Shaarawy, Robinho (Bojan 70)
Ref: Banti