Locatelli secures victory for Juventus against AC Milan after Thiaw’s red card

Malick Thiaw's red card gave Juventus the perfect opportunity for a vital three points in Serie A and Manuel Locatelli scored the goal they needed against AC Milan.


STADIO SAN SIRO (Milan): AC Milan‘s youth product Manuel Locatelli turned out to be the key for Juventus, as his second-half goal earned the Bianconeri a crucial 1-0 win at the expense of his former side.

The Rossoneri played more than 45 minutes with 10 players following Malick Thiaw‘s red card in the closing stages of the first half, a moment which ended up costing Stefano Pioli‘s side the top spot of Serie A, as they failed to respond to Inter‘s win at Torino on Saturday.

On the other hand, Juventus‘ second consecutive league victory cemented their third place, moving them one point behind Milan and two points from the top.

Thiaw’s red card adds to AC Milan’s first-half frustration

Juventus’ Moise Kean sprints away from AC Milan defenders. [@juventusfcen]

Both Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic were initially kept on the bench, and with Mike Maignan and Theo Hernandez suspended and the likes of Danilo, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Samuel Chukwueze all sidelined by injury, both sides seemed deprived of their main stars.

The Rossoneri dominated possession in the early stages, putting in a string of crosses that were dealt with by Juventus‘ defence.

Max Allegri‘s side seemed content with waiting for their opponents into their own half, where they defended with three tight and compact lines, forcing Milan to patiently move the ball from one side to another.

It was Rafael Leao who lit up the first spark for the hosts as he stormed down the left flank in the usual fashion and whipped in a cross that was nicely controlled by Olivier Giroud, who turned and fired a shot which forced an excellent and difficult stop from Wojciech Szczesny.

However, except for that initial scare, Milan’s attempts to find gaps were constantly frustrated by either their own lack of precision in the final third or the packed Juventus defence.

Juventus’s Timothy Weah takes on AC Milan’s Alessandro Florenzi. [@juventusfcen]

As minutes went by, Pioli‘s side often left their central defenders to cope alone against Juventus‘ strikers, a situation which the visitors tried to explore with direct long balls towards Moise Kean and Arkadiusz Milik and that eventually resulted in the key moment of the first half, seconds before the 40th-minute mark.

Kean smartly controlled Timothy Weah‘s long ball with his backheel to elude Malick Thiaw, leaving the defender with no choice but to bring the striker down.

Referee Maurizio Mariani did not hesitate to pull out the red card for Thiaw, who was Milan‘s last man and prevented Kean from sprinting towards Antonio Mirante‘s goal.

Pioli immediately replaced Christian Pulisic with Pierre Kalulu, but it wasn’t enough to track the movement of an inspired Kean, who popped up at the far post to meet a cross only to send the ball inches wide in the dying seconds of the opening half.

Locatelli scores again in AC Milan vs Juventus

Manuel Locatelli celebrates his Juventus goal. [@juventusfc]

Despite being reduced to 10 players, the hosts approached the second half bravely and persuaded Allegri to quickly bring on Dusan Vlahovic in order to add to their offensive prowess and exploit their numerical superiority.

Yet, Juventus needed the aid of luck and fate to break the balance, with an apparently harmless long-range shot from former Rossoneri player Locatelli ending up in the back of the net after Rade Krunic‘s deflection to put the visitors ahead.

Curiously, Locatelli had already scored in the same fixture and on the same exact day, October 22, back in 2016, when his rocket proved decisive to give Milan all three points against Allegri‘s Juventus.

Mirante‘s save on a dangerous shot from Vlahovic was the only relevant chance of the remainder of the game, with Juventus looking at ease while moving the ball around against a growingly tired Rossoneri side that simply had no weapons to hurt a solid defence that kept their sixth league clean sheet from nine games.


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