Saturday, 25 February 2012

Matri's volley extends Juve's long unbeaten run

Second half substitute Alessandro Matri rescued a point for Juventus in the top of the table Serie A clash with AC Milan.

Milan were left to feel aggrieved as a Sully Muntari header, with the Rossoneri leading 1-0, was wrongly not given, despite the ball being a good couple of yards over the line.

Antonio Nocerino, via a huge deflection, had opened the scoring early on, and despite Milan's first half dominance, Juve improved in the second half and probably deserved to draw level, which they did through a Matri volley. A late red card for Arturo Vidal, meant Juve had to hold off some Milan pressure, which they did, to ensure the Serie A title race stayed in the 'Old Ladys' hands.

Juventus started the game well, with Stephan Lichtsteiner twice getting into dangerous positions down the Juve right, without really threatening Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal.

Muntari did brilliantly to win the ball back from Giorgio Chellini, and the Ghanaian international found Urby Emanuelson whose shot was deflected wide for a corner.

The resulting corner came to nothing; however Leonardo Bonucci gifted Milan the ball with a poor pass across his own box and Robinho found Nocerino whose long range shot hit the hapless Bonucci, with the deflection giving Buffon no chance.

The games real talking point occurred in the 26th minute when Muntari's header was incorrectly adjudged not to have crossed the line, therefore preventing Milan from opening up a deserved two goal lead. Buffon did brilliantly to save the initial Thiago Silva header; however Muntari beat his marker to the rebound as his header crossed the line, despite Buffon's best efforts only for neither the referee or the linesman to see the clear goal.

Milan's injustice only spurred the Italian champions on and Mark Van Bommel, Silva and Robinho missed good chances to extend their lead.

Juve's best chance in the first half came and went as Vidal smashed wide when well placed on the edge of the Milan box.

Milan were comfortable in the first half, with Robinho, frequently dropping deep, in particular shinning in a different looking Milan, who despite the lack of several first team players, were in control of the match.

The second half was brought about with a flurry of changes, Milan replaced Pato with Stephan El Shaarawy, whilst Antonio Conte subbed off Marcelo Estigarrbia and Marco Borriello with Simone Pepe and Mirko Vucinic respectively.

The second half began in tame fashion, with neither side threatening to score the games vital second goal.

Emanuelson picked the wrong choice when Milan countered with a three on three attack, as the Dutchman tried to find the sub El Shaarawy instead of the easier option in Robinho and Juve cleared.

Juventus missed a great chance to level as Chellini crosses into space as Fabio Quagliarella shoots straight at Abbiati from close range.

With time starting to run out, Conte's side started to control the game and the sub Matri thought he had brought his side level, only to look up and see the linesman's flag raised. Replays showed the call was a very tight one, with the striker possibly just the wrong side of the last defender.

Matri put his earlier disappointment behind him to volley home an equaliser with just eight minutes left. Chellini, up from the back, crossed well and Matri held off Silva to volley past Abbiati to stun the San Siro.

Vidal stupidly saw red late on for a cynical hack on Mark Van Bommel; however neither side threatened a winner as the game finished 1-1 to extend Juve's unbeaten run to 24 Serie A matches.

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