Following back-to-back defeats at the hands of AC Milan, Juventus got their revenge in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia in a match AC Milan January signing Gerard Deulofeu made his debut for Rossonerri.
Following a highly eventful match in Turin, here are the 5 things we learned tonight:
Deserved Win for Juve
The game got off to a great start for home team who managed to put their boot against AC Milan’s face after only 10 minutes when Dybala’s powerful finish shook Donnarumma’s net and gave Bianconeri a huge morale boost.
Things went from bad to worse ten minutes later when Miralem Pjanic used his artistry to score a beautiful free-kick and double the lead for Juventus who were cruising at half time.
Rossonerri had a great chance to get completely back in the game after the interval, but Carlos Bacca’s 53rd-minute sensational volley strike was left undone by a reckless challenge from young Locatelli who got sent off after mere ten minutes inside the second half.
Game opened up afterwards, AC Milan were not prepared to go down without a fight which opened plenty of space for Juventus. Bioanconeri had a number of chances to score their third, but were forced to settle for a 2-1 win in the end.
Allegri’s Tactical Change Applauded
Max Allegri definitely deserves to be widely praised for his incredibly tight tactical approach towards the game against AC Milan, which left Rossonerri completely stifled.
Juventus boss has been shuffling his tactical choices throughout the season but his brand-new 4-2-3-1 system was unveiled in Juventus’ 2-0 win over Lazio on Sunday and Allegri decided to stick with it against AC Milan as well to perform another top test on it.
The results were brilliant as Juventus were looking rather composed in defence, strong in the centre of the park and sharp upfront.
The newly-adopted style allowed them to perform quick transition from defence more to attack in seamless fashion and Allegri could might as well decide to hold on to his winning formula for a bit longer than expected.
AC Milan Let Emotions Get the Better of Them
It ended up being a rather frustrating night for AC Milan who headed into the Copa Italia quarter-final match against Juventus feeling optimistic and positive regarding their chances against the reigning Serie A and Coppa Italia champions.
Namely, Rossonerri have gained a slight edge over Bianconeri lately, having beaten them at the beginning of the season 2-1, and subsequently pipping them to the Super Coppa title in Doha in December.
The hard-fought win which came after the penalty shootout was meant to provide a huge morale boost for Montella’s men, but the inexperienced and still immature team of Milan simply allowed emotions to take the better of them as they got pretty nervous after Juventus’ early lead and failed to recover ever since despite Bacca giving his team a slight hope in the second half.
Ultimately, AC Milan shot themselves in the foot, and Locatelli’s red card is the perfect proof.
Dybala the Destroyer
If you have – by any chance – wondered why the entire world is going crazy after the 23-year-old Argentine forward, the game against AC Milan was well enough to provide you with plenty of answers.
The versatile striker who is able to fill in a number of roles upfront was for this particular occasion deployed as a Trequartista, behind Gonzalo Higuain and between Mandzukic and Cuadrado in Allegri’s all-attack system which even had the playmaker Miralem Pjanic pushed a step back in the midfield.
In his supporting role tonight, Dybala was able to display his full attacking array and score a powerful goal – which now that we mention it is his fourth in last five matches for Juventus.
The Barcelona target has tonight opened the Cup tally, whereas he already has 5 Serie A goals and 1 UEFA Champions League goal next to his name. Dybala is much more than goals however and his overall influence in Juventus’ attack is invaluable.
Pjanic Takes Free Kicks Like Penalties
Looking at Miralem Pjanic do it will most likely fool you into thinking it is not as hard as it looks.
But behind the Bosnia international’s craftsmanship are hours and hours of diligent practice as he himself would often confess. His free-kick taking skills are a rare talent in the sport and Juventus are lucky to have him as a natural successor of the previous Free Kick King – Andrea Pirlo.
Juventus have gained such a huge presence is Miralem Pjanic who not only is the next king to sit on the free-kick throne, but is that creative string that went missing with Paul Pogba’s departure to Manchester United.
Skilful playmaker with an accurate shot such as Miralem Pjanic is unlikely to be releaved of his duties and allowed to leave (to the Premier League) as it was previously suggested during the January transfer window.
JUVENTUS: Neto 6.5 – Barzagli 7, Bonucci 7.5, Rugani 7, Asamoah 7 – Pjanic 8, Khedira 7 – Cuadrado 7, Dybala 7.5 (Alex Sandro 6.5), Mandzukic 6.5 – Higuain 6.5
Unused Subs: Alves, Audero, Chiellini, Hernanes, Del Favero, Lichtsteiner, Mattiello, Muratore, Pjaca, Rincon, Sturaro.
AC MILAN: Donnarumma 6.5 – Abate 6.5 (Pasalic 6), Zapata 6.5, Romagnoli 6.5, Antonelli 6.5 – Kucka 6, Locatelli 4.5, Bertolacci 6 (Honda 6) – Suso 6, Bacca 7 (Deulofeu 6), Bonaventura 6.5
Unused Subs: De Sciglio, Fernandez, Gomez, Lapadula, Paletta, Poli, Sosa, Storari, Vangioni.
REFEREE: Massimiliano Irrati
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