Milan 2, Juventus 0: The Answer

After a soul-crushing loss to Chelsea midweek in the Champions League, it was difficult to know whether or not Milan would be able to come up with answers against a Juventus side that scored six goals this week in two wins. Additionally, in response to Juve's poor form this season, Allegri had begged the question, what would happen if you took away five starters from Milan? Tonight, with seven players out injured, most of them starters, Allegri got the answer.

Tomori had the answer. Again.

The first 20 minutes were worrisome, as Juventus largely controlled the game and definitely had the most chances. Milan's defense, reshuffled from Wednesday's atrocity at Stamford Bridge and reinforced greatly by the return of Theo Hernández, were up to the task. Kalulu played on the right, Gabbia came into the center, and Tomori looked more himself than ever this season with that supporting cast. Also, he seems to hate Juve like I do, which I love about him. Also, Tatarusanu had a solid, confident game as well. The defensive stars definitely aligned for us tonight.

What a difference one player makes (not you, Locatelli)

Exactly in the 20th minute, things started to shift when Tonali's corner was whipped in for Leão, who cleverly backheeled it, only for it to hit the post. Something monumental happened a few minutes later, Orsato, the referee for the evening, actually showed Cuadrado a yellow card for a foul on Brahim Díaz. I cannot remember when a referee dared show Cuadrado a card for such a foul, let alone so early in the match.

Leão hit the post. Twice.

However, it would not be a Juventus match without a referee controversy or three, and Leão's shot in the 29th was "saved" by Vlahović's arm literally pushing the ball outward. I have seen some very questionable handball calls given, but that was exactly why the rule exists, yet no penalty was awarded Milan. Five minutes later, Leão hit the post again, this time the far post. He was so brilliant an caused Juve so many headaches tonight, he was very unlucky not to get a goal.

In the 39th, I had a traumatic moment when both Bennacer and Kalulu were down having taken some big knocks, of which Juventus offered plenty on the night. Bennacer especially was slow to get up after treatment and kept holding his arm or shoulder, but was able to continue. 

Tomori is back.

Then Karma intervened (aka referee controversy number two) in the dying minutes of stoppage time before the half, when Theo Hernandez ran through Cuadrado as if he was not even there, which most referees would have given as a foul, but there was no call. On that play, the ball went out for a corner, and on the resulting corner, Giroud got the ball and sent it in to Tomori, who scored his second Serie A goal ever, 1-0 Milan. Cue pandemonium in the sold out San Siro. His first was also against Juve, in a 3-0 win at J Stadium in which Brahim Díaz and Rebić also scored. 

A perfect 10 of a goal from our number 10

Trying to stick to that script, after halftime, Brahim Díaz intercepted the ball and dribbled solo in and scored on Szczesny to make it 2-0, then ripped off his shirt and celebrated wildly. Leão had him on his shoulders, Tomori celebrated even more intensely than for his own goal, and the entire team just erupted with joy at what this meant for our number 10 and for the team. After the match, Brahim Díaz confessed that he had always wanted to score a goal like that. The resulting yellow card was completely worth it.

Who cares about the yellow? Look how happy everyone is

The rest of the match was relatively tense, and while Juve maintained 61% possession for the entire match, they were held to only 10 shots, while Milan peppered the Juve goal with 21 shots. Tensions reached a peak in stoppage time when Tonali's short corner to Origi saw him felled by McKennie and Paredes, the latter of whom tried to quickly restart the ball while Tonali shins were directly in front of his kick. 

Taking Tonali down so dirty like that did not sit well with the rest of the Milan squad, and a bit of a skirmish broke out, including Gabbia defending his teammates against Moise Kean. In the end, Orsato gifted Tonali, Paredes, and Kean all yellows. I suppose Tonali was carded for interfering with Paredes' kick? Maybe? Or maybe he was just carded for being kicked in the shins. It was a sour spot in an otherwise delicious match.

An open invitation to Chelsea?

The fans were spectacular, with the Curva having organized a stunning stadium-wide coreo ahead of the match, and the sold out crowd supporting the team throughout, which the team will desperately need again on Tuesday. But the way that just bringing back even one player and Pioli reshuffling players against a Juve side that on paper has double the wages and should have easily taken out a beleaguered Milan side like this was just what the team and fans needed. Allegri is completely befuddled as to how to coach his expensive team, which is probably why Milan are now seven points clear of Juve after only nine games. Unlike his counterpart, Pioli has the answer.

This post inspired by the music of Savages' "The Answer"

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Tuesday, October 11 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Milan 2, Juventus 0: The Answer Milan 2, Juventus 0: The Answer Reviewed by Elaine on 11:58 PM Rating: 5
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