Milan bucked a trend of eight consecutive defeats in all competitions against Juventus with a 1-0 victory at home to the champions on Saturday night courtesy of Manuel Locatelli’s well-taken goal on 65 minutes.
The midfielder’s strike settled an exciting, end-to-end affair, worthy of two teams battling at the top of the Serie table, who are now separated by just two points after nine league matches, Juve on 21 and Milan on 19 in second place.
A bright start for the Bianconeri saw them have three shots on target within the first five minutes, even if Paulo Dybala and Alex Sandro were both flagged for offside, with Gianluigi Donnarumma getting gloves to their shots in any case.
On ten minutes, Gigi Buffon too would be called into action, getting his fingertips to a fine, curling effort from Suso.
With both sides threatening to open the scoring before the break, Miralem Pjanic eventually had the ball in the back of the net in the 36th minute, when his free-kick arrowed inside Donnarumma’s far post. Referee Nicola Rizzoli initially awarded the goal, but, after consulting his linesman, decided to chalk it off upon adjudging Leonardo Bonucci to be in an offside position.
With the game incredibly still goalless after a first half witnessing eight shots for Juve and four from Milan, the second period would see the ball bogged down more often in midfield, with the Bianconeri continuing to edge their opponents in terms of shots (14 to 4) and possession (61.7 to 38.3 per cent).
On 65 minutes, however, Milan took the lead through an excellent strike by Locatelli, the midfielder firing with power and precision into the top corner of Buffon’s net.
While Juve would press for an equaliser thereafter, some stout defending from the hosts kept them ahead, not least a jaw-dropping stop from Donnarumma on Sami Khedira’s top corner-bound effort with the final kick of the game.
The Bianconeri now have just four days to dust themselves down and get ready for Wednesday’s visit of Sampdoria at Juventus Stadium.