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Italy - Serie A
25 February 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: P. Tagliavento
• Attendance: 53000
A. Nocerino 15'
A. Matri 83'
90' + 4'
And that's the match! Juventus have managed to scrape by with a draw after Conte's substitutions and Milan's tired legs allowed Matri to cancel out Nocerino's early strike. Both sides have reasons to be mad at Tagliavento but at the end of the day, Juventus' unbeaten run and penchant for drawing continues. I'm Julian De Martinis, and thank you for joining us here on Goal.com!
90' + 3'
Van Bommel races forward and just tries to play in El Shaarawy but the midfielder fails to find his target. Time is ticking away from Milan now!
90' + 2'
Silva's effort from the free kick is poor, but the ball is played into Antonini deep in Juve's box. He flashes the ball back across the goal-line and Buffon nearly fumbles it before collecting! A nervy moment at the back for Juve.
90' + 1'
Yellow CardSimone Pepe
90' + 1'
Milan continue to swarm and Pepe is booked now for taking down Robinho 15 yards outside the box! Four minutes added on and Milan have a free kick in a fantastic area.
Red CardArturo Vidal
RED FOR VIDAL! The midfielder tops off a poor display with a straight sending off! He lost the ball cheaply and put in an awful challenge to win it back against Van Bommel, catching the midfielder in the shins. Tagliavento doesn't hesitate for a second and Juve are down to 10 men!
Vucinic makes a very strong run from midfield all the way to the Milan byline. He tries to earn a corner as he kicks the ball off Antonini but it bounces for Abbiati to collect.
Matri had been booked for removing his shirt during celebrations. Milan continue to press and Abate whips in a cross but it's right into the hands of Buffon.
Allegri's men will be furious with the goal, as they've missed numerous chances and turned off at the wrong moment. Juventus will point to the wrongly disallowed goal as a sign of injustice however!
Yellow CardAlessandro Matri
GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLL MATRI! Milan turn off at the back and Juventus equalize from what should've been a simple clearance! A rare mistake from Thiago Silva lets Juventus keep possession in the box. Pepe whips a cross into the box and Matri holds off the challenge of the centre-backs to half volley it into the net! 1-1 now at the San Siro!!!
The free kick is incredibly poor from Pirlo; it hits the wall and allows Milan to counter forward. The counter is three on two defenders but somehow Lichtsteiner races back to block Robinho's shot! Buffon safely collects as Milan have wasted a great opportunity.
Yellow CardSulley Muntari
Mexes and then Muntari booked in quick succession as the home side is resorting to iffy challenges to stop the onslaught of forward Juventus movement. A free kick to the visitors now, halfway into Milan's half.
Yellow CardPhilippe Mexes
Matri has the ball in the back of the net but the flag is up for offside and it won't count. It seems as if Matri was just onside but Vucinic was off, though not interfering with play. Another controversial decision this match!
Milan's plan at the moment is seemingly just to knock the ball up towards Robinho whenever the side pry the ball from Juventus, which has yet to work with so many midfielders back defending.
Abate again clearing a cross from Pepe, this time hoofing it out of the area and giving a hand to Silva and Mexes. The home side are increasingly on the backfoot as this match progresses!
Caught in two minds, the advancing Vidal can't decide whether to shoot or pass and nearly loses the ball before laying it off wide. Pepe plays a cross into the heart of the box that Abate, who's having an outstanding game, heads away.
The cross is an interesting one, as it's played wide to the awaiting Nocerino, who crosses it back into the box. Robinho eventually gets on the end of it and snaps a shot across the face of goal!
Van Bommel sweeps up the midfield and plays a loose ball back to his goalkeeper. Milan go forward through Nocerino; El Shaarawy tries to slip past the defence and earns his side a corner.
Mexes puts in an absolutely superb sliding tackle to prevent Chiellini's ball from reaching Matri. The forward's movement caused Mexes a bit of trouble and that was very, very close to being an attempt on goal.
Urby taken off for Ambrosini as Allegri senses that his side are being overrun in the midfield, due to tired legs and the substitutions Conte has made. Vidal wastes the free kick with a terrible shot from a long ways out.
Chiellini tries to skip away from Nocerino but the Milan man fouls him, begetting a free kick.
20 minutes to go and the tide has changed; Conte's men now look the more likely of the two to score, perhaps unsurprisingly as Matri and Vucinic have come on.
That turns out to be Quagliarella's last involvement of the game as Conte subs him off for Matri. Abbiati is called into action again as he smacks the ball away from the onrushing Vucinic on the cross!
Marchisio leads the charge for Juventus. He drives forward in the midfield with the ball before playing it wide to Pepe. The ball goes to the other flank via Pirlo, where Chiellini plays a perfect ball into the pass of Quagliarella. The striker whips a shot on goal that forces an immense save from Abbiati!
Vucinic gets the ball on the edge of the box, takes a stride to the side of Mexes, and rips a shot wide of Abbiati's left-hand post.
Juventus counter three on three and it takes a perfectly timed slide tackle from Barzagli to prevent El Shaarawy from getting into the box! Van Bommel tries to drive forward but Marchisio plays it back to Buffon, who clears.
Thiago Silva proving to be a brick wall in the back as usual, as he cuts out a dangerous pass and then puts Vucinic on a leash soon after. The Old Lady are getting more involved but lack the ability to cut open the defence.
A minute later and Milan have another free kick in nearly the same exact position, and once again go back to their defence. The side are pressing forward but look much more hesitant this half.
Nocerino skips away from Vidal but the Juve man refuses to concede, eventually fouling the Milan midfielder from behind. Tagliavento whistles for a free-kick, which Milan play straight to their defence.
Quagliarella tries to spray the ball wide to Vucinic from the edge of the box, but Abate races forward and does just enough to knock it out of his reach.
Pepe's working very hard up front to give his side more balance, and Milan have consequently been much more careful about playing the ball forward lest they lose it dangerously.
Van Bommel snatches Barzagli's pass and tries to beget a counter, but the visitors soak up the pressure and play the ball back to Buffon.
It's a very deep delivery from the home side which Vidal heads out for a Milan throw-in. Robinho is nearly able to get away from four players swarming him but it turns out to be a bridge too far. Nevertheless, Milan are keeping possession and continue to press forward.
It's been a poor game from Pirlo, who has another pass intercepted- this time by Abate who can read his intentions all too well. The fullback is then at the end of a move begot by Silva that gives Milan a corner.
Antonini races down the flank to reach a deep cross and whips it back towards goal, but at full speed the fullback is unable to control the ball and it goes awry. The Milan fans nevertheless cheer as their side are putting in an incredible amount of pressing at the moment.
El Shaarawy and Robinho breaking quickly again, forcing Pirlo into a slide tackle to knock the ball out of bounds. The duo are incredibly mobile and the Juve defence is having a tough time reading them.
Vucinic comes on for Borriello- one former Roma man replacing the other- just after some shouts for a foul near the box. Vidal had taken down Robinho but the referee allowed play to continue, culminating in a cross that went nowhere.
The game is getting increasingly physical and Borriello knocks over Abate in a foolish attempt to prevent losing possession. Vucinic warms up on the side as El Shaarawy and Robinho cause a bit of havoc near the box.
Borriello nearly scores an own goal as his pass back to Buffon is too strong for the goalie and rolls out for another corner! Vidal clears it this time and Juve counter; Mexes clears Marchisio's through ball right on the halfway line.
Robinho gets in behind Chiellini in the box but the defender turns on his afterburners and races to slide the ball out for a corner! It's played short and back by Milan who look to be in no rush to lose the ball.
Vidal once again trying a trademark long range effort, but he catches the ball awkwardly and it goes high and wide of the goal.
Pirlo presses forward but loses out in a duel to Van Bommel, to the midfielder's fury. Milan press forward very quickly and the ball is played to El Shaarawy but the youngster is just offside!
Milan counter quickly and Robinho's pass to substitute El Shaarawy is a fraction too long, forcing the player wide instead of forward. A threatening move from the home side nevertheless.
Stephan El Shaarawy
Pepe has come on for the ineffective Estigarribia and Allegri has swapped Pato for El Shaarawy for the second half, which begins with Antonini promptly passing the ball directly out of play. Mexes and Borriello collide up front and it seems that the defender has punched the forward! Tagliavento hasn't caught that but Mexes could well be punished after the match.
45' + 1'
After just one minute of extra time, Tagliavento whistles for the half. Allegri's men have been well and truly dominant and should be ahead by more than one goal after a very controversial decision! Conte'll give his men a talking-to in the locker room as Juventus have 45 minutes to try and turn this around. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
Vidal's effort goes just wide after a series of poor clearances from Milan. The ball fell to the midfielder just outside the box and his first-time volley snapped wide of the far post!
Just a minute to go here in this frantically played and eventful first half. Mexes ventures forward and knocks into his former Roma teammate, Borriello, conceding a free kick.
Neither side can hold onto the ball at the moment; nearly every pass is only finding a member of the other team!
Close again from Milan! Silva's initial effort from the ensuing free-kick hit the ball and bounced kindly for Van Bommel, who shot from just outside the box and watched the ball go centimeters wide of the near post!
Yellow CardAndrea Barzagli
Barzagli booked for a cynical take-down. Emanuelson was racing through on the counter and looked to bypass the defender, who just left his foot out to prevent the Milan player from getting forward.
Milan look quite threatening on the counter. Robinho holds off Pirlo before spraying the ball wide, beating Chiellini initially, but the defender recovers and helps Barzagli nick the ball off of the Brazilian soon after.
Pirlo as usual takes the free kick, whipping the ball into the box. It finds only the head of Mexes, who clears it away, but only for the visitors to regain possession and continue to press forward.
Nocerino loses the ball now and Juve play it wide to Lichtsteiner. Van Bommel takes down Quagliarella as the visitors advance and the Old Lady have a free kick in Milan territory.
Lichtesteiner again finding himself in acres of space where Antonini should be, but his teammates are wasting his efforts: Pirlo this time tries to cross the ball into the box but it's over-hit and goes right out of bounds.
Yellow CardThiago Silva
Yellow for Silva after a tackle from behind on the rather quiet Quagliarella.
Close again from Milan! Robinho races into the box and slides a cross across the face of goal; it beats Chiellini but Barzagli pokes it away. The home side are irrepressible at the moment and latching onto every loose ball in the midfield!
Abate gets to the edge of the Juventus box; he slips past Estigarribia but fails to get through Chiellini. After some scrappy play, the visitors are able to play it out from the back.
Pirlo plays a magnificent ball into the box that finds Chiellini's head; his effort goes over the bar but the whistle has gone as he knocked over Mexes in the buildup.
Borriello gets the best of Silva for a second but is forced to play it back. Van Bommel fouls VIdal from behind and now Juve have a free-kick in a great position, ten yard from goal on the right.
From about 30 yards out, Pirlo tries a dipping effort against his former side, but it skids wide of the far post. Abbiati looked to have had it covered in any case.
The home side now building patiently from the back. Pato slips the ball in between Bonucci's legs but hesitates going in towards goal, allowing the visitors to surround him on the edge of the box.
The controversial decision has done little to change the flow of the game. Juve came close to equalizing immediate after but it's continued to be mostly one way traffic since, as Vidal loses the ball deep in MIlan's half.
The Milan players are furious at the decision and the home side's bench are having furious words with the fourth official about that. They nearly score again anyway as Buffon saves the ball with his head in a one-on-one with Robinho!
GOAL TO MILAN... HASN'T BEEN GIVEN! From the corner Muntari clearly heads the ball into the net, but Buffon reaches in to pull it out. The ball is far over the line but the referee's assistant doesn't call it! An absolute howler as that should easily be the second goal of the night!
Vidal lines up a shot outside the box; Silva slides into it to block it and stays down in some pain. Milan counter, Robinho gets the the byline but fails to get past Barzagli. Corner to Milan as Silva gets a bit of looking at off the pitch.
Lichtsteiner finds himself in acres of space on the left and earns a corner as his cross into the box deflects off of Antonini. Pirlo plays in a very poor corner; it's overhit and falls to Milan to counter.
Milan look very comfortable so far as Mexes and Silva are having no trouble dealing with the very mobile front duo the visitors have put out.
Marchisio chips a ball into the box after a spell of sustained pressure from the visitors, but Antonini is across and covers Borriello very well. Soon after, Borriello and Mexes tussle in a 50/50 challenge that results in a Milan free-kick.
Unreal sights! Chiellini loses possession now and again gifts Milan a possession! The Juventus defence is in pieces at the moment, but get away with it this time as the final delivery is poor from the corner.
Borriello tries to level the score from the edge of the box but his shot hits Mexes and rolls away limply.
Conte is going to be furious with his men as now Estigarribia cheaply gives away the ball. This is a very uncharacteristic performance from the usually machine-like side so far!
GOALLLLLLLLLL NOCERINO! After a very poor corner, Milan once again punish the visitors who give away the ball far too easily from a terrible Bonucci pass. From outside the box, the goalscoring midfielder lines up his shot and absolutely blasts it into the back of the net as it deflects off Bonucci! A shocking display from the younger defender so far.
Bonucci tries to carry the ball out of his box but Muntari makes a superb challenge to dispossess the defender and earn Milan a corner. It's again played short before Robinho crosses it in. It's deflected and Buffon punches it out for another corner.
Mexes reads Chiellini's pass and urges his side forward. Milan camp around Juve's box but lack a spark up front to dissect the defence; Robinho tries his best but runs into Bonucci.
Antonini gives the ball away dangerously in his own half but makes up for it as he intercepts Lichtsteiner's run.
The visitors press forward but have trouble breaking down the duo of Mexes-Silva. Estigarribia tries to float a cross in from the left but Abbiati collects it after fumbling his initial attempt.
Muntari plays a very deep cross into the box, which finds Nocerino at the far post perfectly. The midfielder tries a volley as he jumps but kicks the ball away from goal!
Lots of space in the midfield for both sides to exploit. Pirlo takes the initiative and lofts a through ball into the box for Borriello, but Abbiati is able to collect it before the striker can arrive.
Some very delightful play from Milan- switching flanks with Robinho at the heart of it- ends in a layoff for Emanuelson at the edge of the box, but the trequartista mistimes his kick and whiffs at the ball!
Antonini dispossesses Lichtsteiner, much to the ire of Juventus fans in the stadium. Muntari plays a quick pass forward to Pato but asks too much of the young Brazilian's pace: Buffon collects.
A great run from Abate down the flank begets a Milan corner. It's played short to the fullback who passes to Robinho, and the forward promptly loses possession. A waste from Milan.
Silva and Mexes team up well to contain the likes of Borriello and Quagliarella. Milan lose possession pushing forward but Borriello is caught offside in the ensuing counter.
Bit of pressure from Milan now but the visitors in control in the very early moments here. Lichtsteiner whips a great cross into the box, forcing Abbiati into a diving one-handed clearance.
Following a minute of silence, the match begins! The Old Lady begin kicking off from left to right. Immediately Borriello and Thiago Silva tussle over a through ball but the immense centre-back wins the duel cleanly. Juve don't lose it for long and Quagliarella snaps a shot from quite a ways out, failing to test Abbiati.
Both teams on the pitch now. Can an Ibra-less Milan break down the best defence in Serie A? The home side in their usual red and black for this, whereas Juve are dressed in their traditional black and white stripes.
Just moments from kick-off now as the San Siro looks to be an absolute sell-out. The earlier matchup this season between these two ended with a 2-0 win for Juventus at home, with two goals coming from Marchisio very late in the game, sandwiching a Boateng expulsion.
As for the referee, Paolo Tagliavento takes charge of his first Milan-Juventus match. In his last six matches in charge, at least two yellows have been handed out, with four of those resulting in four yellows or more. Needless to say, cautions and expulsions could play a large part in the match tonight!
Conte continues his use of the 3-5-2 formation, hoping for a third win over Milan this season following successes earlier in the league and in the Coppa Italia. The usual trio of Vidal, Marchisio, and former Milan maestro Pirlo are in the centre of the park, behind a front duo of Quagliarella and another former Milan man, Marco Borriello. Vucinic, Matri, Del Peiro and Caceres are all available from the bench should the need arise. Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia; Quagliarella, Borriello Bench: Storari, Caceres, Pepe, Giaccherini, Del Piero, Vucinic, Matri
Lineups have been released. The home side have a few big-name absences to deal with, including the continued ban of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the recently injured Kevin Prince Boateng. Nesta and Maxi Lopez are out as well, limiting Allegri's options quite a bit. The coach has opted to play Pato and Robinho up front with Emanuelson behind them. Highly rated youngster Stephan El Shaarawy is on the bench. Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari; Emanuelson; Pato, Robinho Bench: Amelia, Bonera, Yepes, Bonera, Ambrosini, Inzaghi, El Shaarawy
As for Conte's men, a positive result could sustain momentum throughout the rest of the season and firmly establish the Old Lady as a once-again contender in the top flight, after a few years of floundering following Calciopoli. In a sentence, the league title and momentum could well be on the line tonight!
The incumbent Scudetto holders are currently a point above the Old Lady, albeit with an extra game played. A win here would be massive on multiple levels; Allegri silencing the critics skeptical of Milan's big game form in Italy this season; shattering the Juventus aura of invulnerability; and finally, proving that this Milan side are more than capable of retaining the league title.
Welcome to Goal.com's match coverage of AC Milan-Juventus: and what a match we have in store tonight! It's first against second in Serie A in a mouthwatering top-of-the-table showdown at the San Siro. Maximiliano Allegri's men look to end Antonio Conte's unbeaten run at Juventus and firmly establish themselves as the team to beat this season.
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