Juventus displayed nerves of steel in one of the biggest Serie A games of the 2020-21 campaign as they took home all three points from a crucial fixture against AC Milan at the San Siro. The hosts suffered their first defeat of the season as Andrea Pirlo's men move within seven points of the leaders.
The game ended 3-1 in favour of the reigning champions, thanks to a brace from Federico Chiesa and a late Weston McKennie goal, while Cristiano Ronaldo had a surprisingly quiet night on the pitch. Davide Calabria scored the only goal for AC Milan.
The match started on a promising note, with both sides having a couple of shots on target in the first 10 minutes of the game. Chiesa hit the woodwork in the 16th minute, following a corner, after Gianluigi Donnarumma was beaten from the set-piece. The Juventus winger got his first goal of the game a couple of minutes later, following a lovely one-two exchange with Paulo Dybala.
Milan tried attacking, especially using the pace of Rafael Leão but with strikers, Ante Rebic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic ruled out of the game, they lacked the cutting edge in the final third.
The hosts drew level in the 41st minute, via one of their best counter-attacking moves of the game. Davide Calabria, who was found at the edge of the box by Leao, finished the move with a sweet first-time strike. The goal was a bit contentious as Hakan Calhanoglu had seemingly fouled Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot in his own half to win the ball back in the lead up to the goal.
The game resumed with a slightly reduced intensity after the break, as Juventus dominated possession. The visitors took a deserving lead in the 62nd minute when Dybala and Chiesa combined yet again to deliver the goal for them. Chiesa found the far corner from the edge of the box with a left-footed strike, which went between two Milan defenders.
As soon as he scored his second goal, Chiesa was taken off on account of an injury. His replacement, Dejan Kulusevski also provided a lot of threat going forward. He ended up providing the assist for Juventus' third and decisive goal in the 76th minute. Kulusevski laid the ball for Weston McKennie after a strong run on the right flank.
Despite 20 shots, out of which eight were on target, Milan failed to score more than once and suffered their first defeat in Serie A in 304 days.
Here, we take a look at the five talking points from Juventus' big win.
#5 AC Milan's 27-game unbeaten streak in Serie A comes to an end
AC Milan had retained the status as the only team across Europe's top five leagues to have gone unbeaten after the first half of the 2020-21 campaign. The club had not suffered a defeat in Serie A in their last 27 games. But on Wednesday night, they were dealt a massive blow and were defeated 3-1 at home by Juventus.
It was the first time Milan failed to secure a point in the Italian top-flight in 304 days. The club's previous defeat in Serie A came in March 2020, just before the COVID-19-enforced lockdown.
#4 Wojciech Szczęsny has another brilliant outing for Juventus
Juventus have their goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny to thank for keeping the Milan attackers at bay. The shot-stopper produced eight saves in the game, with his brilliant reflexes coming in handy in the first half.
His best save of the game probably came in the 35th minute when Hakan Calhanoglu had the ball at the edge of the penalty area and had a go at goal, forcing Szczęsny into action. Just moments later, the Turk had possession of the ball again and despite his powerful effort, could not beat the Polish goalkeeper in Juventus goal.
Although Juventus have managed just one clean sheet from their last six games, they still boast the joint-best defensive record in the league this season. And Szczęsny deserves credit for his consistent displays between the sticks..