Juventus 0, Milan 1: A Little Justice

For years, Inter and others have built a false narrative that Juventus owned the referees. So much so that they were able to get Juventus relegated in 2006 when Inter and even Milan were actually more guilty of talking to referees in the infamous Calciopoli scandal. The narrative continued as Juventus rebuilt, using their owner's political strength to build a stadium and become a financial powerhouse in Italy. Certainly, Milan were on the wrong end of some serious referee errors, even leading to changes in technology. But then Agnelli got greedy and went too far, systematically using capital gains as well as lying to shareholders and other alleged financial crimes to gain a sporting advantage. While Milan made bitter sacrifices to do everything right, Juve did the opposite. Juve's 10 point deduction was finalized this week, a decision they are reportedly not going to appeal. That pulled them out of top four and put Milan into fourth place. Tonight's 1-0 win over Juve at the Allianz stadium solidified Milan's Champions League qualification for next season while mathematically excluding Juve's chances, making it feel like there was finally just a little justice.

There is something poetic about the justice and this little team's unity

Even more delicious, after Milan's 2-0 win at San Siro in October, this was only the third time that Milan defeated Juventus in both league matches in the past 50 years, according to Opta Paolo. More impressive to do that with a team with only an €86 million annual wage bill vs. a Juventus team with a €163 million wage bill, nearly double the quality. Of course, this has been cut significantly from Agnelli's ridiculous €294 million team of 2020, the reason Juventus are now in so much trouble. But Pioli, who got a raise after winning the Scudetto from €2 to €4 million annually this year, must also enjoy beating Allegri again, who is paid a ludicrous €7 million per year. But perhaps the most delicious part of it all was doing it on the 20th anniversary of beating Juventus in the Champions League Final in Manchester.

Chiesa cost Juve €42.5m & earns €7.7m/yr, he watches our €15m GK who makes €3.5m/yr. make a save

But I digress. Despite both sets of Ultras protesting the match due to ticket pricing and policies, there was an actual match played tonight. Juventus were slightly more dangerous in the first half, including a shot from Cuadrado in the 13th minute that forced a save from Maignan. Di Maria would have had a great chance in the 24th, but he slipped and sent the ball well over. And a shot from Moise Kean in the 32nd was also saved by Maignan.

Messias earned the singular yellow card of the first half in the 34th for a bad tackle on Danilo. But it didn't stop him from attacking, even if his shot in the 39th was deflected wide. Just one minute later, though, was when the magic happened. Calabria, completely from the outside, put in the perfect cross to Giroud, who found just enough space to head it in past Szczęsny. 1-0 Milan. 

Even more spectacular than the goal is the spectacular form when you score it

The few Milan fans who ignored the Curva Sud's pleas to boycott and showed up went crazy. The rest of the somewhat empty stadium were really having a bad week, between the points deduction, the big loss to Empoli, and now being down to Milan at home. The mood at halftime was not great.

To their credit, Juventus did not just throw in the towel. Allegri kept screaming and gesticulating in ways that only he can. Rabiot had a shot saved. Cuadrado got his token yellow card in the 56th for a challenge on Leão. Saelemaekers replaced Messias in the 56th, then had a shot saved in the 71st. Somewhere in there, Krunić also earned his token yellow card. Leão created a nice chance in the 78th, but it went just over.

Leão was kept quiet, but they couldn't stop him from smiling

In the 82nd, Pioli subbed Pobega on for Brahim Díaz, and Ballo-Touré for Leão. A few minutes later, he replaced Calabria with Kalulu and Giroud with Origi. Danilo had one last chance in stoppage time that was stopped by Kalulu, but Giroud's header was the decider. He even went into the stands after being subbed and signed things and gave his shirt away to the small group of fans.

At the final whistle, the team had plenty to celebrate. An away win. A clean sheet. At Juventus. Sealing qualification for Champions League for next season with a top four finish. Doing the double against Juve. They celebrated with one another and with the few fans who were there. 

So much to celebrate, so few fans to celebrate with.

It was a shame that the Curva Sud, who have been by their side all year and the best supporters in Serie A this season, were not there to celebrate this moment with them. But they were probably twice as happy, having also spent the day yesterday volunteering in Emilia-Romagna to help clean up after all of the flooding. But missing moments like this is the risk you take when you boycott, in addition to risking the loss of your support, as we mentioned on the last podcast. Luckily, Milan did their job, perhaps to repay the fans for all of their love all year long.

To finally win against a team who has been willing to do whatever it took to win, and to do it fairly and with a team that was built for pennies, just feels amazing. I imagine for someone like Maignan, who just two years ago was racially abused at that same stadium, he must also feel a sense of karmic amends. It is difficult for those who have never been discriminated against to understand what that type of abuse feels like, so it is probably difficult to understand what it must feel like to come, conquer, and even keep a clean sheet like he did. 

Perhaps a little extra justice for some.

I felt a little bad for the Juventus players, who were galvanized by the initial court ruling, and actually did earn more points on the pitch this season than Milan. But then again, many of them are the same players who took part in the salary maneuvers in 2020, and the rest of them signed for a corrupt club. That was their choice, their error of judgment.

Nothing can ever make up for all of the injustices Milan and Serie A have suffered because of Juventus' greed, lack of ethics, abusive fans, advantageous ownership, etc. But tonight, sealing our Champions League spot at their expense after they were penalized, giving us their spot... it felt like something finally went our way. Milan had to give up a year in Europe to clear our FFP breaches with UEFA from two past owners, so I have zero sympathy for Juventus being held accountable for their far more egregious violations of financial and sporting ethics. Plus, we fought for this win and earned it fairly. Our Champions League spot... that just feels like a little justice... finally.

This post inspired by the music of Rage Against the Machine's "Take the Power Back"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 38
Milan vs. Verona
Sunday, June 4, 2023 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Juventus 0, Milan 1: A Little Justice Juventus 0, Milan 1: A Little Justice Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.