Milan vs Juventus 0-0: Disappointing Draw at San Siro

Milan and Juventus needed much more than one point each but their Serie A clash at the San Siro on Sunday night offered very few emotions and ended in a disappointing goalless tie. It was an intense and balanced game with very little to report.

The Rossoneri left the pitch with more regrets, not necessarily because they did just a little bit more than their opposition but because, by failing to overcome the Old Lady in one of dullest Milan vs. Juventus battles in recent years, they lost track of top-ranked Inter and were reached by Napoli at the second place in the league table.  

Milan vs Juventus Lineups: De Ligt Knocked Down by Flu

For Milan, Davide Calabria recovered his starting spot at right-back, while Alessio Romagnoli started in the middle of the defense alongside Pierre Kalulu as Theo Hernandez patroled the other flank. With Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessié still out due to the AFCON, the double pivot role was covered by Rade Krunic and Sandro Tonali.

Upfront, Stefano Pioli deployed Junior Messias as right winger instead of Alexis Saelemaekers, with Brahim Diaz covering the number 10 spot and Rafael Leao acting on the other wing. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the center forward.

Among the Juventus lines, the last-minute news was Matthijs De Ligt’s absence as the Dutchman was kept at bay by a stomach flu. He was replaced at center back by Daniele Rugani, who joined captain Giorgio Chiellini with Mattia De Sciglio and Alex Sandro playing on the sides. 

Juan Cuadrado and Weston McKennie featured in the wingback roles, with Rodrigo Bentancur and Manuel Locatelli playing in the middle, behind an all-Spanish-speaking striker duo consisting of Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata. 

Ibrahimovic Picks Up Injury in High-Tension First Half

A goalless first half with almost no shots on target may suggest the game was a dull affair but, in a San Siro pitch at its worst, Milan and Juventus gave life to an intense battle. Referee Marco Di Bello set the expectations with two early bookings – Leao and Locatelli – to keep the tension down.

Massimiliano Allegri’s main strategy aimed at containing Rafael Leao, the most in-form man among the Rossoneri lines. He placed the diligent De Sciglio to marshal him, adding a second marker when necessary to prevent the Portuguese from wreaking havoc on the left chain as usual.  

Still, the only real chance in the first 45 minutes came from a sudden burst on his, as he exchanged the ball with Messias and Ibrahimovic and fired it at Wojciech Szczesny – who was equal to the task in the occasion. Juventus, on the other hand, didn’t manage to find the net and only came to test Mike Maignan with two long-range shots from Cuadrado and Dybala that sailed well off target.

In such a tense stalemate, the most noteworthy event happened to be Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury as the big Swede picked up what looked like a calf strain and was replaced by Olivier Giroud on 27 minutes.

Disappointing Second Period with Little to Report

Intensity aside, those courageous 5000 fans who came to the San Siro on a freezing January night were legitimately expecting to see something more after the restart. However, there was little to report in the second half as the game slowly drifted towards a nil-nil draw.

Juventus appeared more active with a Morata header from a De Sciglio cross on 50 minutes but Maignan didn’t have to break a sweat this time either as the Spaniard’s effort crashed above the bar. Their next chance – so to say – only came with five minutes to go as McKennie seemed ready to head the ball home from the middle of the box, but Kalulu’s good defending prevented him from finding the target.

The Rossoneri tried to surprise Szczesny with shots from Rafael Leao and Hernandez that were both blocked by the Polish shot-stopper. Two more chances fell on Giroud’s shoulders: first, the Frenchman was picked by Calabria and went for a flank-play that was not picked by any of his teammates rather than heading the ball at Szczesny; later on, he did went for a header but his conclusion came out too central and was easily neutralized by the Juve goalie.   

None of the changes operated by either Pioli or Allegri helped to turn the tides. The Rossoneri gaffer sent in Bennacer, who was just relieved of his AFCON duties after Algeria’s elimination, and Saelemakers. He eventually also added Ante Rebic and Alessandro Florenzi. Allegri used all his five available substitutions, giving some playing time to Arthur, Moise Kean, Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Bernardeschi, and Adrien Rabiot.

It was all to no avail. And so, at the end of the day, Inter were the only ones to celebrate as – thanks to their last-gasp win over Venezia on Saturday – they increased their lead over both the Rossoneri and the Bianconeri



January 23, 2022 – Serie A 2021-22 Round 23

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria (76′ Florenzi), Kalulu, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali, Krunic; Messias (61′ Saelemaekers), Brahim Diaz (61′ Bennacer), Rafael Leao (76′ Rebic); Ibrahimovic (28′ Giroud) (Tatarusanu, Mirante, Gabbia, Stanga, Bakayoko, Maldini) Coach: Pioli
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Szczesny; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado (65′ Bernardeschi), Locatelli (65′ Arthur), Bentancur (90′ Rabiot), McKennie; Dybala (90′ Kulusevski), Morata (74′ Kean) (Perin, Pinsoglio, Lu. Pellegrini, Danilo, De Ligt, Kaio Jorge, Aké) Coach: Allegri

REFEREE: Mr. Di Bello from Brindisi
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Rafael Leao, Messias (M); Locatelli, Kean (J); Added Time: 1st Half: 2′, 2nd Half: 3′