AC Milan came into the match against the juggernaut of Juventus hoping for the best, but in the end the Old Lady was just too much to overcome, especially when Milan’s star striker Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Milan from Juve this past summer, had a penalty saved in the first half and was sent off in the second half after becoming frustrated with the referee. Milan played well in stretches, but given the amount of injuries to the team, the quality of Juventus was just too much in the end.
Juventus struck first, scoring a goal in the 8th minute after Mandzukic rose above Ricardo Rodriguez to slam home a header that came from a far-post cross. While Rodriguez didn’t exactly cover himself in glory on the play, there was no doubt that the Juventus player was able to get a cross off without any pressure from a Milan defender.
Mandzukic came close on a similar play a few minutes later, but this time Alessio Romagnoli was able to get his head to the ball first and head the ball out for a corner kick. Juventus continued to control play for most of the first half, with a few positive moves from Milan sprinkled in between.
Milan have been better since switching to 433 -P.C— Milan Club Melbourne (@milanmelbourne) November 11, 2018
Milan switched to a 4-3-3 in the middle of the first half, from a 4-4-2, with Samu Castillejo going out wide instead of playing alongside Higuain as another striker. The attacking movement paid off for Milan, as they earned a penalty thanks to a handball by Medhi Benatia that was called after the referee consulted VAR.
And because Milan can’t have nice things anymore, Gonzalo Higuain had his penalty saved by Wojciech Szczęsny. Despite the rage online at Higuain’s effort, the spot kick was taken well, but Szczesny just guessed correctly and was able to get a hand to the ball and do enough to steer it off the post. Perhaps a shot struck with more power and pace, or if Higuain had tried to lift the ball off the floor it would have gone in, but the effort still would have gone in were it not for a very lucky effort from Szczesny.
Milan went into halftime down 1-0, and feeling very unlucky having not converted the penalty. However, they match was still somewhat even, especially given Juve’s dominance in Serie A this season.
The second half started much as the first half ended, with Juventus looking the better side but not able to convert another chance while Milan took the occasional foray towards the Juventus goal, only to also go away without a good chance on net.
Patrick Cutrone was brought on in the 62nd minute as Milan tried to bring a little more attacking flair to the game and put some pressure on the Juventus central defense, with Benatia having already seen yellow in the first half.
Milan seemed to go to a 3-5-2 in the 74th minute, as Fabio Borini slotted in as a right wingback as Milan started to chase the game with Ricardo Rodriguez moved to central defense.
And then Ronaldo got a chance as he was left unmarked after Gigio Donnarumma was only able to parry away a shot from distance. Ronaldo, who had been quiet for approximately the entire match until he popped up and slammed home the rebound in the 81st minute.
And then Higuain lost his mind and got himself a second yellow for dissent and a red card after picking up a yellow for a tackle on Benatia. Higuain’s emotions and temper absolutely boiled over and he was literally dragged off the pitch by his teammates.
Not much else happened in the last few minutes as Milan always looked second best in the match and fell to a Juventus side that is clearly head-and-shoulders above the rest of the league, with 34 points from 12 matches.
Milan will have to regroup and get ready to face Lazio in two weeks time after the international break, as the Rome side sit in fourth place, ahead of Milan by a single point.