A closely-fought encounter at the San Siro is settled by Robinho’s contentious first-half penalty
A controversial first-half Robinho penalty settled a scrappy encounter at the San Siro and condemned Juventus to their second defeat of the season.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout a combative 90 minutes, but the Brazilian striker kept his cool from the spot to separate the sides after a contentious penalty was awarded for Isla’s alleged handball in the area.
Juventus upped their game in the second half and pushed forward in search of an equaliser, yet Milan defended deep and resisted increased Bianconeri pressure to emerge with all three points.
For the trip to the San Siro, Antonio Conte made two changes from the line-up which dismantled Chelsea in midweek. Having failed to fully shake off a calf problem in the build-up to the clash, Chiellini was replaced by Caceres, while Isla came in for Lichtsteiner on the right flank.
The Rossoneri started the brighter of the two sides and fashioned the first meaningful opportunity on goal after 14 minutes. Boateng strode forward and tried to catch Buffon out with a low shot at the near post, forcing the Bianconeri custodian to get down and make a vital block. Conte’s men responded through Quagliarella, but the forward’s low left-footed strike was comfortably dealt with by Amelia.
The turning point of the game came seconds before the half-hour mark, when Isla was adjudged to have handled an incoming cross from the right-hand side. Rizzoli pointed to the penalty spot, but subsequent television replays showed the ball strike the defender under the arm. Buffon guessed right and got a hand to Robinho’s spot kick, yet the Brazilian’s firmly struck effort squirmed out of his grasp and nestled in the corner.
With the hosts defending admirably and providing Juventus little opportunity to express themselves in the final third, Alessio rang the changes in his quest to unlock the Rossoneri rearguard. Padoin was the first to enter the fray at the start of the second half, patrolling the right flank in place of Isla, while Giovinco offered a fresh alternative to Quagliarella in attack on 57 minutes.
The diminutive striker went close to troubling Amelia with a spectacular acrobatic effort from Padoin’s right-sided delivery, but was unable to steer his attempt on target.
The Bianconeri’s third and final change saw Pirlo deployed further forward to support the two strikers, with Pogba, on in place of Asamoah, shielding a makeshift back four.
As the seconds ticked down towards the final whistle, the best opportunities to rescue a point fell to Vucinic. After seeing a close-range effort blocked by Constant’s despairing lunge, the forward then had a curling attempt turned behind for a corner.
MILAN 1-0 JUVENTUS
GOALS: Robinho 30
Amelia; De Sciglio, Yepes, Mexes (Zapata 72), Constant; Montolivo, De Jong, Nocerino; Robinho (Pazzini 65), Boateng (Flamini 85), El Shaarawy.
Substitutes not used: Gabriel, Acerbi, Emanuelson, Strasser, Niang, Bojan.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres; Isla (Padoin 46), Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Pogba 72); Vucinic, Quagliarella (Giovinco 57).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Lucio, Marrone, Lichtsteiner, De Ceglie, Giaccherini, Pepe, Bendtner, Matri.
ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Carriolato
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Niccolai
BOOKINGS: Nocerino 16, Isla 30, Bonucci 46, Marchisio 86, Yepes 90+4, Giovinco 90+4