A Big Win at San Siro Boosts Juventus’ Position in Serie A
Juventus had a major breakthrough at San Siro, bringing them closer to the top of the Serie A table, alongside the two Milan clubs. This victory has put them in a more advantageous position.
In the final moments before halftime on Sunday night, Juventus received a lifeline. While Milan dominated possession during the first half, the game took an unexpected turn when Malick Thiaw received a straight red card for fouling Moise Kean. The home side was then left with 10 men for the remaining 50 minutes of the game.
With the odds stacked against them, Juventus had to step up their game. Although they didn’t do much, they managed to secure the only goal of the match and hold onto their lead. This win marks the second time this season that Juventus has achieved a significant result after an international break. Their previous victory was a resounding dismantling of one of their former managers at the Allianz Stadium. This time, they triumphed in a hard-fought 1-0 win over AC Milan, playing in front of a packed San Siro.
The player who delivered the decisive goal was former Milan midfielder Manuel Locatelli. His long-range shot took a fortunate deflection, securing Juve’s first and only shot on target of the game. This goal came in the 63rd minute, putting Juventus in the lead for the remaining half-hour of the match.
Locatelli has a history of scoring long-range goals in this rivalry. As a teenager, he scored against Juve’s legendary goalkeeper, Gigi Buffon, in a match on Oct. 22, 2016. Seven years later, on the same date, he managed to beat Buffon’s former backup, Antonio Mirante, who had an impressive performance in his first appearance in over two years.
Juventus was undoubtedly lucky in this game, with the Thiaw red card and the fortuitous deflection on Locatelli’s goal. The red card was a turning point in the match, allowing Juventus to have more possession in the second half. However, their offensive efforts remained relatively limited. Despite having a numerical advantage, Juve only managed to put four shots on target in the entire second half.
A bigger lead would have been ideal, but the most crucial aspect of the game was Juventus’ solid defense after Locatelli’s goal. Although a team like Milan, known for their dangerous counterattacks, posed a threat even with 10 men, Juve’s defense held strong, preventing their opponents from equalizing.
This victory is significant regardless of Juve’s chances of winning the Scudetto in a month or two. They are now just two points behind Inter in first place and one point behind Milan in second. Additionally, they have a favorable schedule ahead before the next international break.
Ultimately, beating Milan is always a satisfying achievement, regardless of the table standings. If winning important games right after international breaks becomes a trend for Juventus, it would undoubtedly be welcomed, especially considering who their next opponent is (hint: they also play at the San Siro).
Random Thoughts and Observations:
- Pre-game thought No. 1: Hoping for a birthday win from Juventus this time.
- Pre-game thought No. 2: Milan’s starting lineup is impressive despite missing key players.
- Pre-game thought No. 3: Juventus’ starting lineup is not as strong, with several regular players absent.
- Pre-game thought No. 4: Excited to see the American players in action.
- Pre-game thought No. 5: Adapting to Adrien Rabiot as captain will take some getting used to.
Tek Szczesny’s remarkable save early in the game showcased his world-class abilities. It turned out to be his only save of the night, as he kept a clean sheet for the fourth consecutive game since his previous mishap against Sassuolo. Szczesny’s professionalism in the face of adversity is commendable.
The red card given to Thiaw for his foul on Kean was undeniably deserved. Kean had a clear opportunity to score one-on-one against Antonio Mirante before being brought down by Thiaw. Timothy Weah’s exceptional pass enabled Kean to make that crucial move. Kean’s resilience in the face of an imminent tackle was reminiscent of a quarterback standing strong amidst an oncoming blitz.
Federico Gatti had a challenging task defending against Rafael Leao’s speed on the wings. Despite the significant gap in pace between the two players, Gatti managed to hold his own. While it was not a flawless performance, Gatti achieved the goal of not being overwhelmed by Leao. Another standout in the match was Bremer, who delivered an outstanding defensive performance. Despite what the statistics may say, it felt like Bremer won numerous aerial duels and made countless tackles. Daniele Rugani, who is often criticized, also performed admirably in this game. He answered the call when needed, whether playing on the left or shifting into the middle. A mention must be made of Dean Huijsen, who made his debut as a result of Gatti’s yellow card and Juventus’ lack of defensive options. Making his first senior team appearance in front of a 70,000-strong crowd, Huijsen showed composure and even delivered a memorable body check on the sideline.
Timothy Weah’s solid performance at the stadium his father once called home adds an interesting dimension to the match. It’s worth noting that he also provided an assist. Speaking of Americans, Weston McKennie played well, apart from a missed scoring opportunity. Juventus relies on McKennie’s consistent performances, especially given their current midfield situation.
Remarkably, Juventus remains undefeated when Adrien Rabiot is the captain. In conclusion, celebrating a Juventus victory against Milan on my birthday is far better than the alternative seven years ago, when Locatelli’s goal sealed the win for Milan. I prefer the excitement of high-fiving my parents on this day rather than being frustrated.
Michael Johnson is your soccer guru, providing extensive coverage of soccer. With a global perspective, he delivers match reports, player interviews, and insights into the beautiful game, ensuring readers stay connected to the world of soccer.