A late Alessandro Matri strike preserved the Bianconeri’s unbeaten run and silenced defending champions Milan at the San Siro. Nocerino had given the Rossoneri a first half lead but Juventus weathered the storm and clinched a point from a feisty encounter packed full of talking points. Conte opted to stick with a 3-5-2 for the top of the table showdown. Estigarribia was preferred to De Ceglie on the left-hand side, while Quagliarella, making his 300th professional career appearance, took his place alongside Borriello in attack. Vidal returned after serving a one-match ban against Catania. Despite an early speculative attempt from Quagliarella and Lichtsteiner’s dangerous cross into the area, it was Milan who started in the ascendency. Allegri’s men strung together a succession of passes and enjoyed the majority of the opening period inside the Juve half. Emanuelson’s deflected strike was merely a warning sign, as a familiar face came back to haunt his former employers moments later.
Nocerino was presented with the ball in a central position and fired in a strong attempt which took a deflection off Bonucci and flew past Buffon after 14 minutes. Yet the goalkeeper proved the Bianconeri’s saviour midway through the first half, pulling off a miraculous double save to firstly keep out Mexes’ powerful header before clawing Muntari’s follow up away. Sensing a chance to pounce on the counter, Conte’s men then burst forward with Estigarribia drawing a save from Abbiati after striking a venomous effort from distance.
Milan then regained their momentum and continued to cause their visitors problems, launching several crosses into the area and using Robinho’s deadly pace as a useful weapon on the counter. Conte reacted to this by reverting to a 4-3-3, which saw Quagliarella and Estigarribia play either side of Borriello. The beginning of the second half brought the Bianconeri’s first change. Estigarribia made way for Pepe, with the versatile winger instructed to patrol the right flank. As both sides attempted to stamp their authority on proceedings, the encounter became increasingly combative, forcing Tagliavento to dish out several yellow cards. Having weathered the initial storm, Juventus grew in stature and continued to ask some questions of their own.
Their best chance fell to Quagliarella, who turned Chiellini’s inviting cross goalwards but saw Abbiati block his attempt. The pendulum had dramatically swung in the Bianconeri’s favour, galvanised by the introduction of Vucinic and Matri. And the latter – who began his career in the Rossoneri youth academy – had the ball in the net with ten minutes remaining, only to see the linesman rule out his effort for offside. Matri’s sense of injustice clearly gave him the incentive to make the next opportunity count. And when Pepe looked up and placed a neat cross into the penalty area, the ex-Cagliari frontman finished with aplomb to grab the Bianconeri a priceless equaliser with seven minutes remaining. Tensions almost threatened to boil over in a frantic finale, with Tagliavento showing Vidal a straight red card after the Chilean’s lunge on Van Bommel. The result, built on the foundations of heart, determination and character, sees Juventus confirm their supremacy over the Rossoneri in direct encounters this season, claiming four points from the two Serie A fixtures.
MILAN 1-1 JUVENTUS
GOALS: Nocerino 15, Matri 83
MILAN Abbiati; Abate, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Nocerino, Van Bommel, Muntari; Emanuelson (Ambrosini 72); Pato (El Shaarawy 46), Robinho Subsitutes not used: Amelia, Bonera, Yepes, Zambrotta, Inzaghi. Manager: Allegri
JUVENTUS Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Estigarribia (Pepe 46); Quagliarella (Matri 69), Borriello (Vucinic 54). Substitutes: Storari, Caceres, Giaccherini, Del Piero. Manager: Conte
REFEREE: Tagliavento ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Romagnoli FOURTH OFFICIAL: Rizzoli BOOKINGS: Thiago Silva 36, Barzagli 41, Mexes 80, Muntari 81, Matri 84, Pepe 91 SENT OFF: Vidal 89