Thursday, March 23, 2017

Juventus 1-1 Milan (4-5 after penalties): Five things we learned as Rossoneri steal the trophy from Bianconeri

Milos Markovic in Editorial, Serie A 23 Dec 2016

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Milan's No. 1 outshined his idol Buffon / Image via goal.com

Milan’s No. 1 outshined his idol Buffon / Image via goal.com

Supercoppa Italiana is the competition traditionally played between the Scudetto winners and Coppa Italia holders, but with Juventus scooping both trophies it was AC Milan as Cup runners-up who joined them in this year’s competition.

For all of those who missed the chance to follow the game live we present the five key points from the encounter:

Lack of excitement compensated by the penalty shootout

Football fans worldwide have split opinion regarding the penalties, but they traditionally are arguably the most exciting moment in a game.

Such was the case in a generally uneventful match in Doha between Juventus and Milan. There was not much to separate the Italian giants after 120 minutes of action in the game during which both sides had a couple of chances of their own to close the match.

The Old Lady got their foot upftont after 18 minutes through Giorgio Chiellini who met a perfectly taken free kick to head the ball home past the helpless Donnarumma.

Milan levelled the score seven minutes from half time when Giacomo Bonaventura put the ball past Buffon after a wonderful cross with a well-timed header.

Juventus tried to get in front once again through Mandzukic and the second-half sub Dybala, whereas Milan had opportunities of their own through Carlos Bacca and Alessio Romagnoli, but there were no changes to the result after the regular time.

Penalties, just like the lottery, revolved around luck and fortune which, in this particular occasion, smiled upon AC Milan.

Buffon’s landmark just one more notch in his belt

Supercoppa Italiana 2016 saw Juventus legendary goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon reach another milestone in his trophy-laden career with Italy’s greatest.

Buffon lead his team against AC Milan in what has been his 600th appearance for Bianconeri which would have been ideally celebrated should Juventus managed to win the trophy for their long-serving soldier.

The Italian veteran shot-stopper won seven Serie A titles with Juventus, whereas he’s got two Supercoppa Italiana to his name since his arrival from Parma in 2001.

Fifteen years into his Juventus career Gianluigi Buffon is still going strong insisting personally that today’s milestone will not be his last for Juventus.

Commercialisation of the competition is wrong

Since the inception of the competition in 1988, the total of nine finals of the Supercoppa Italiana, including 2016, were played outside of Italy.

This year’s edition between the Serie A champions (and Coppa Italia winners) Juventus was played in Doha, Quatar, at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium. Organised by the Quatar FA, the Supercoppa Italiana match was used as a perfect occasion to promote the 2022 World Cup which will be played in Qatar.

However, it raises a serious question of whether the football matches are in this way being turned into too much of the marketing-oriented events, intended to provide financial gain.

Lack of proper support from the stands – which was apparent in Doha as well – remains another major issue worth mentioning.

Injury problems keep preventing Juve from shining bright

It’s been a frustrating season for Max Allegri, who hoped the 2016/17 season would go on to become Juventus’ best thus far. The Juventus boss struggled to assimilate the newcomers into the team as well as to establish defensive stability Juventus have been renowned for over the last couple of seasons.

With seventeen muscle injuries from the start of the campaign, and another one today to left-back Alex Sandro, simply keep putting dents into Juventus’ potential to shine the brightest.

Paulo Dybala was one of the most important first-team players missing due to injury as the Argentine picked up another knock at the beginning of December. The flamboyant forward returned to action in Doha as the second-half substitute, immediately breathing new life into his team’s play.

Juventus lacked pace and vigour with both traits being introduces as Dybala came on for Miralem Pjanic.

Milan with solid foundations for successful future

Following years of struggles in the Serie A, AC Milan seem to have finally adopted a fully functional model, which is yielding impressive results this season in the Serie A.

Instead of digging deep in their pocket – which were empty until the most recent takeover by the way – Rossoneri have turned their focus to home-grown talent and young players which got great wind under their wings from the supportive head coach Vincenzo Montella.

With the 31-year-old Ricardo Montolivo as the oldest player in the squad, Milan showed bravery and courage to rest their faith on the hands of the players 17, 18 and 20 years of age.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, Manuel Locatelli, Mario Pasalic, Alessio Romagnoli are the brightest examples to serve as great investments for the future which – from the current perspective – looks pretty bright.

JUVENTUS: Buffon 7.5 – Lichtsteiner 7, Rugani 7, Chiellini 8, Alex Sandro 6 (Evra 6.5) – Sturaro 6.5 (Lemina 6.5), Marchisio 7, Khedira 7 – Pjanic 7 (Dybala 7) – Mandzukic 6.5, Higuain 6.5

Unused subs: Asamoah, Audero, Barzagli, Benatia, Coccolo, Cuadrado, Hernanes, Neto, Pjaca.

MILAN: Donnarumma 7.5 – Abate 7 (Antonelli 6.5), Paletta 7, Romagnoli 6.5, De Sciglio 7 – Kucka 6.5, Locatelli 6.5 (Pasalic 6.5), Bertolacci 6.5 – Suso 7, Bacca 6.5 (Lapadula 6), Bonaventura 7.5

Unused Subs: Adriano, Fernandez, Gabriel, Gomez, Honda, Niang, Poli, Sosa, Zapata.

REFEREE: Antonio Damato

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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