AC Milan seal Champions League place, Juventus miss out for first time in over a decade

AC Milan's Champions League place for 2023/24 was confirmed with a win away at Juventus on Matchday 37, leaving the Old Lady out of the competition for the first time since 2011/12.

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An excellent header from Olivier Giroud was enough to give AC Milan the victory against Juventus on Serie A Matchday 37, and the 1-0 win at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday evening sealed Champions League qualification for 2023/24.

It has been a disappointing title defence to say the least from the Rossoneri, but they are now fourth in the league table with 67 points, and they have a chance to equal or better their semi-finals run in this season’s Champions League.

Meanwhile, the defeat compounds further misery onto the Bianconeri, who were recently given a 10-point penalty for capital gains fraud. Although they are seventh on 59 points and in the position to qualify for the Conference League, an impending investigation from UEFA could see the club banned from Europe in 2023/24 anyway.

Giroud delivers again

Olivier Giroud of AC Milan celebrates. (@acmilan)

It was not a vintage performance from AC Milan, who were content to let Juventus have most of the possession, especially in the first half. The Bianconeri pressed high up the park, and used Angel Di Maria and Filip Kostic as their main sources of creativity. However, Moise Kean, who played in the absence of the injured Dusan Vlahovic, failed to provide a clear reference point in attack.

Five minutes before half-time, Rossoneri captain Davide Calabria supplied an excellent bending cross, and Giroud was able to beat Federico Gatti in the air, then head the ball past Wojciech Szczesny in the Juve goal.

Danilo came close to equalising in the dying minutes of the game, but his effort was cleared away, and AC Milan held on.

Juventus hit lowest low in over a decade

If the punishment from the capital gains investigation was not enough, this defeat further compounded it. The last time that Juventus did not participate in the Champions League was in the 2011/12 season, when they did not participate in any of the two European competitions of the time.

In that campaign, the Bianconeri won the Serie A title, starting a run that would last for nine seasons. In that era, they also reached the final of Europe’s premier competition on two occasions.

Despite their efforts to not be distracted from the investigation, the recent outcome is clearly on the mind of the players and their efforts were in vain. 2023/24 might be a year where Juventus can focus on domestic football only.

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