Juventus’ Champions League qualification was dealt a huge blow with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to fellow top four contenders AC Milan. Andrea Pirlo’s men now lie outside the top four with just three games left to go in the Serie A season. Moreover, Milan now have a favourable head to head record over last season’s champions should the calculations reach that level.
In a crunch match for Europe, Brahim Diaz opened the scoring in stoppage time in the first half before Ante Rebic and Fikayo Tomori added goals in the second 45. It could have been worse for Juventus with Wojciech Szczesny saving a penalty from Frank Kessie in the 58th minute.
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) May 9, 2021
The AC Milan defence had a good game with Tomori looking especially sharp, his goal being the icing on the cake. For Juventus, it was a disastrous reult. Here are our four talking points from the match –
CAGEY FIRST HALF
The match began with Juventus dominating the possession but unable to create any clear-cut chances. Stefano Pioli had set AC Milan up to play in transition with runners balls into Ibrahimovic and runners beyond him being the key threat.
The first 45 was patchy, with many fouls being committed. For Pirlo, Juan Cuadrado was the most productive outlet with some good crosses in from the right. However, the Rossoneri midfield was able to plug the gaps quickly, sometimes illegally, to prevent any progression through the middle.
It was one such foul that brought the opening goal just before half time. Hakan Calhanoglu’s free kick from a foul out on Juve’s left wing was not dealt with completely by Wojciech Szczesny. The keeper’s punch fell to Brahim Diaz who took a couple of touches to set himself before curling a finish past Szczesny and two defenders on the line.
In the lead at the Stadium thanks to @Brahim! 💪
— AC Milan (@acmilan) May 9, 2021
Diaz was a shock-inclusion for many having not started a match since March for Milan. Rafael Leao, who has impressed this season, and Croatian speedster Ante Rebic were left on the bench to accommodate the on-loan Real Madrid man in the attacking three behind Ibrahimovic. However, he made a good case for himself with a well-taken goal.
When Rebic did come on, he did so to great effect. The 27-year-old replaced Ibrahimovic who was forced off due to injury just after the hour mark. After coming on, Rebic did well to keep the Juve defence occupied. He ran the channels and held up the ball to relieve his defence.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) May 9, 2021
However, his crowning moment came in the 78th minute when he turned to find a surprising amount of space in front of him. The Juve defence backed off which encouraged Rebic to have a go and he postage-stamped a shot into the top-corner. Szczesny stood no chance of saving an absolute rocket of a shot.
A young Milan side had a great game but Pirlo’s men offered very little going forward. Ronaldo was starved of service but provided nothing in return either. Morata tried his best, going on some good runs but could not find any joy. The midfield and defence was absent for the goals and static for the rest of the match.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 9, 2021
Juventus under Pirlo are yet to find an identity and they were similarly aimless against Milan. Their setup seemed reactive rather than proactive which one has come to accept of the Old Lady. Juve are now out of the Champions League spots and have a game at newly crowned champions Inter Milan left to come. From their performances this season, few can make a case that they deserve to qualify irrespective of what Agenlli and his cartel believe about the right of the rich.