Juventus maintained their six-point advantage at the top of the Serie A pile with a well-earned 2-0 win away at AC Milan.
Ronaldo caps 2-0 win over AC Milan at San Siro
MARIO DRAWS FIRST BLOOD
After a disappointing Champions League defeat on Wednesday, the Bianconeri were keen to get back to winning ways and took little time to get their noses in front at the San Siro. The goal that broke the deadlock was a straightforward one and was indicative of the away side’s superiority. Just before the eight-minute mark, Alex Sandro delivered a curling cross in from the left which Mario Mandzukic met at the back post, beating Ricardo Rodriguez to the ball and planting a header down into the net.
SZCZESNY WINS BATTLE OF WITS
Despite their first-half dominance, Massimiliano Allegri’s side were unable to build on their advantage, suffering the same lack of cutting edge that cost the side against Manchester United during the week. It appeared Juve would be punished again as the home side were awarded a penalty before the break when the referee, following consultation with the VAR, penalised Medhi Benatia for a hand ball. The Bianconeri can thank Wojciech Szczesny for getting them off the hook, however, as he managed to tip Gonzalo Higuain’s penalty kick onto the post.
JUVE IN CONTROL
Milan came out with added aggression in the second period, fuelled by the disappointment of the missed spot kick, but Juventus were able to keep their opponents at arm’s length. Ronaldo forced Gigi Donnarumma into action, firing Alex Sandro’s cutback towards goal, while Paulo Dybala skimmed the post with a free kick from the corner of the box. The game sprang into life after 65 minutes with Milan first breaking forward through Higuain, whose ball to Patrick Cutrone was intercepted by Benatia, before Juve hit back with a counter of their own. Ronaldo burst forward from inside his own half before seeing his low left-foot shot saved by Donnarumma.
RONALDO SECURES THE WIN
After a couple of changes from Allegri, bringing on fresh legs in the form of Sami Khedira and Douglas Costa, Juve were able to put the game to bed. Joao Cancelo burst into the box just after 80 minutes before firing a fierce cross-shot that Donnarumma could only parry. Unfortunately for the Milan goalkeeper, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand to rifle home a merciless finish and put the result beyond doubt. Shortly after the second goal the Rossoneri’s frustration boiled over somewhat, with Higuain handed a straight red card following his furious reaction to being booked for fouling Benatia. By that stage, however, a Juventus win was all but confirmed.
AC MILAN 0-2 JUVENTUS (HT: 0-1)
SCORERS: Mandzukic 8, Ronaldo 81.
Donnarumma; Abate (Borini 74), Zapata, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Suso, Kessié, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu (Laxalt 74), Castillejo (Cutrone 62); Higuain.
Subs not used: Reina, A. Donnarumma, Calabria, Bellanova, Simic, Bertolacci, Mauri, Montolivo, Halilovic.
Szczesny; Cancelo, Chiellini, Benatia, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic (Khedira 74), Matuidi; Dybala (Douglas Costa 79), Mandzukic, Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Barzagli, Bonucci, Rugani, Kean, Bernardeschi.
ASSISTANTS: Preti, Vivenzi.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Valeri.
VAR: Fabbri, Giallatini.
BOOKED: Benatia 34, Bakayoko 61, Higuain 83, Borini 87.
SENT OFF: Higuain 83.