SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 25 - 25 Feb 2012 (19.45 UK)
Milan 1 - 1 Juventus
Nocerino 15 (M), Matri 83 (J)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Antonio Nocerino and Alessandro Matri secured a 1-1 draw, but both Milan and Juventus were denied evident goals in a controversial encounter!

The two top teams went head-to-head in this Scudetto showdown and it was particularly special for Andrea Pirlo and Marco Borriello against their former club. Zlatan Ibrahimovic lost his appeal against a three-match ban, joining the injured Maxi Lopez, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Merkel, Antonio Cassano, Rodney Strasser and Gennaro Gattuso. Alexandre Pato got a rare start with Robinho and Urby Emanuelson.

Antonio Nocerino couldn’t get enough power to a volley at the back post, while Leonardo Bonucci was robbed for an Urby Emanuelson shot deflected wide.

Bonucci’s wayward pass was intercepted again in midfield, so Nocerino unleashed a screamer from 20 metres that took a decisive deflection off the same defender to leave Gigi Buffon stranded.

Thiago Silva bravely charged down an Arturo Vidal snapshot with his crotch, while Robinho forced a corner from Andrea Barzagli as he tried to go past him at the by-line.

From that corner, Buffon palmed a Mexes header off the line, then Sulley Muntari had the follow-up from a couple of yards that the goalkeeper again scooped away, but replays clearly show it was well over the line. Nonetheless, play continued and Juve nearly scored at the other end, as Christian Abbiati had his palms stung by a Marcelo Estigarribia strike.

Pirlo fired wide from a huge distance, but the Bianconeri were struggling, so after 37 minutes switched from the 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3 system. Andrea Barzagli went into the book for tripping Emanuelson as the Dutchman surged forward on the counter-attack in the final third.

Thiago Silva’s free kick was straight into the wall, but the Mark Van Bommel follow-up skimmed a coat of paint off the upright.

A poor clearance fell to Vidal on the edge of the box for a chest and volley inches wide. At half-time both sides made changes, as Stephan El Shaarawy and Simone Pepe replaced Pato and Estigarribia.

However, within 60 seconds of the restart Mexes was caught on camera punching Borriello in the ribs in an off the ball incident. The referee did not spot it, but Mexes will undoubtedly be penalised using video evidence.

Robinho seemed to be tripped on the very edge of the box by Vidal, but the referee was right there and waved play on. Robinho also threaded a smart through ball that Muntari just failed to control when clear on goal.

Emanuelson’s pass was sending El Shaarawy through, but Barzagli’s crucial sliding tackle stopped him short.

Juventus finally created an excellent scoring opportunity on 68 minutes, as Chiellini rolled the ball across the face of goal for Fabio Quagliarella, but Abbiati managed to parry from point-blank range.

Moments later Abbiati flapped a cross off the head of Vucinic, but in the final 15 minutes Vidal had to limp on as there were no more substitutions.

Alessandro Matri ran on to a through ball and put it in the net, but the offside flag was incorrectly raised and the goal did not stand. It was the same linesman who got it wrong with the ‘phantom’ goal.

There was a huge risk on the counter with three Milan men after Pirlo’s poor free kick, but Barzagli performed a decisive sliding tackle to stop Robinho on the edge of the box.

With seven minutes to go, Juventus equalised in spectacular fashion. Pepe got down the right and crossed for Matri, who got in front of Thiago Silva and volleyed a powerful right-foot strike at the near post.

In the final minutes it was end-to-end stuff, but Vidal was shown a straight red card for going through the back of Van Bommel. Moments later, Pepe risked another red when he went through Robinho, but got away with a booking.

Luca Antonini knocked down a cross for Muntari, but Buffon smothered at his feet from six yards. There was an ugly scuffle after the final whistle, as both Chiellini and Massimo Ambrosini had to be dragged away by teammates.


Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari; Emanuelson (Ambrosini 71); Pato (El Shaarawy 46), Robinho
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia (Pepe 46); Quagliarella (Matri 70), Borriello (Vucinic 53)
Ref: Tagliavento

Sent off: Vidal 88 (J)