Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wk33: Hasan breaks 10-man Milan

Serie A Week 33 - 12/4/08 (19.30 UK)
Juventus 3 - 2 Milan
Del Piero 12 (J), Inzaghi 14, 31 (M), Salihamidzic 45, 80 (J)
Stadio Olimpico


Juventus fought back to defeat Milan 3-2 with Hasan Salihamidzic's brace, but Daniele Bonera's red card for a horror tackle proved decisive.

These two clubs dominated Serie A for two decades and it remained a battle of pride as well as a key game. The Bianconeri needed a victory to make up for last week's 3-2 loss at Palermo, while the Rossoneri knew only a win would keep their Champions League hopes intact. Carlo Ancelotti had to completely revolutionise his defence as Alessandro Nesta and Kakha Kaladze were banned, while Marek Jankulovski, Massimo Oddo, Ronaldo and Alexandre Pato had injuries. Pavel Nedved was suspended and Cristiano Zanetti sidelined.

Juve last won this fixture in November 2002 and curiously, Milan had not shared the spoils on their travels since a 1-1 at Catania on February 27, the same weekend as Juve’s last home draw in the goalless Turin derby.

Alessandro Del Piero flashed an angled drive off target, but he opened the scoring on 12 minutes. Mauro Camoranesi beat Giuseppe Favalli and threaded through for Del Piero's right-foot angled drive that trickled past Zeljko Kalac's outstretched leg and into the far corner of the net.

Moments later Inzaghi nearly equalised, as he sprung the offside trap on Favalli's cross and hit the side-netting.

Once again, it was a warning not heeded, as 60 seconds later Super Pippo drew level. Kaka held off Giorgio Chiellini down the left channel and rolled across for Inzaghi to tap in from six yards. This was his first goal against Juve in Turin.

Chiellini nodded a corner over the bar and Zdenek Grygera curled off target, while Buffon smothered a Kaka effort that bounced just in front of him.

Del Piero wasted a great counter-attack when he tried to dribble a little too long and was crowded out by Rossoneri shirts. Clarence Seedorf's wayward cross turned into a very dangerous lob that Buffon tipped on to the crossbar!

The resulting corner was not cleared effectively and allowed Milan to go 2-1 up. Daniele Bonera sprung the offside trap and smartly rolled across to Inzaghi, who was behind the line of the ball for a tap-in from eight yards. Before last week Inzaghi had scored just one Serie A goal all season, but this was his fourth in two games.

The Rossoneri had another wonderful scoring opportunity with Kaka's cracking right-foot volley spilled by Buffon and the World Cup winning goalkeeper just about scrambled the loose ball off the feet of Inzaghi.

However, Juventus made it 2-2 on the stroke of half-time. Del Piero dispossessed Paolo Maldini with a sneaky tackle and Camoranesi chopped a cross for David Trezeguet's header, which Kalac parried into the path of Hasan Salihamidzic.

The drama still wasn't over, as 30 seconds later Gennaro Gattuso's lob forced Buffon into a fingertip save.

After the restart Dario Simic slipped and was still able to intercept Del Piero's pass for Trezeguet. Nicola Legrottaglie limped off with a sprained knee and made way for Guglielmo Stendardo.

Grygera almost scored the goal of the season as he unleashed an extraordinary right-foot rocket from 34 metres that Kalac had to fingertip round the post.

Maldini's sliding tackle dispossessed Camoranesi at the byeline after he had overcome Simic. Bonera needed a glancing header to tip Sissoko's cross off the head of Stendardo from six yards, doing just enough to put the Juve defender off.

There was controversy on 66 minutes. Seedorf was furious that Camoranesi did not receive a booking for a stamp, but as soon as play resumed Bonera received a straight red card for a horrible studs-up challenge right on Sissoko's shin. It really was a leg-breaker tackle that risked serious injury to the former Liverpool midfielder. Fortunately, Sissoko was able to continue after several minutes of treatment.

Carlo Ancelotti had to balance out the side and threw on Marcos Cafu for Inzaghi. It seemed to work, as the Brazilian veteran was brought down by Camoranesi on the right channel for a poor Andrea Pirlo free kick.

Trezeguet made way for Vincenzo Iaquinta, so Ranieri did not risk the trident even against 10 men. Maldini charged down a Grygera counter, but there was further controversy 10 minutes from time. Maldini was very harshly penalised for a shoulder against shoulder challenge with Grygera and from that Camoranesi free kick Salihamidzic was allowed a totally free header.

Milan poured forward looking for the equaliser and this left space at the back for Del Piero to flash a counter off target, while Alberto Gilardino replaced Gattuso.

Buffon smothered a Cafu snapshot and Massimo Ambrosini moved up the field as a striker, but at the other end Del Piero's volley hit Kalac's outstretched foot in a one-on-one situation. Seedorf earned a free kick five minutes into stoppages and even Kalac went up, but Juve held on for the victory.


Juventus: Buffon; Grygera, Legrottaglie (Stendardo 51), Chiellini, Molinaro; Camoranesi (Nocerino 90), Tiago, Sissoko, Salihamidzic; Del Piero, Trezeguet (Iaquinta 78)

Milan: Kalac; Bonera, Simic, Maldini, Favalli; Gattuso (Gilardino 83), Pirlo (Brocchi 89), Ambrosini; Kakà, Seedorf; Inzaghi (Cafu 69)

Ref: Rocchi

Sent off: Bonera 66 (M)

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