Costly mistake sees Milan fall to Juve

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty ImagesMilan keeper Marco Amelia objects to the penalty cal that set up Juve's goal. Arturo Vidal converted the kick for Juventus.

In a game that would have failed to inspire the neutral, Milan saw their 14-match unbeaten run come to end as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Juventus on Sunday night.

With their rivals all securing valuable wins, the pressure is on the Rossoneri to recover quickly.

-Juve's Vidal wins it with penalty kick
-Video: Juventus 1-0 AC Milan (UK, Ireland)

Despite the lack of opportunities, Milan were arguably comfortable throughout. Importantly, they were able to dominate possession and thus dictate the tempo, as they played at their pace for the majority of the game.

Massimo Ambrosini stressed ahead of the trip to Turin that they must approach the game in the right way, so as to avoid putting on a 'horrible showing'. The game plan was working, but it just wasn’t enough to threaten for all three points.

It was undoubtedly a solid if not breathtaking performance from Massimiliano Allegri’s men, which ultimately came down to an individual mistake to split the teams. Juve were far from their best, but Ignazio Abate's moment of hesitation was enough to see substitute keeper Marco Amelia bring down Kwadwo Asamoah.

Before the game, Allegri made a vital switch, which again proved why Kevin-Prince Boateng is so much more effective in the midfield, as his tireless display helped Milan take control despite being outnumbered in the middle of the pitch.

For all the positive possession statistics, Milan's failings in the final third comes as another demonstration as to why Mario Balotelli can't return soon enough.

Giampaolo Pazzini was isolated much of the game, while Robinho was largely ineffective. Confidence has clearly been snapped out of Stephan El Shaarawy, who when given the opportunity to run at the Juve defence chose to pass more often than not.

Although there were question marks over his ability to play alongside Balotelli, he will arguably be looking forward to his return with their movement and awareness more suited than that of Pazzini.

Riccardo Montolivo was again at the heartbeat of everything good with Milan, as he orchestrated the flow for the Rossoneri with an increasingly more commanding presence. However, for all the positives, it doesn’t take away from the fact Fiorentina just one point behind in their pursuit of third place.

"The lads put in a good performance, allowing little and controlling the ball. We must not feel the pressure looking at other results, as we already know that we have to pick up points regardless of what the other teams do," Allegri told Mediaset Premium after the game.

Seven points now separate Milan and second-place Napoli, with the primary objective slipping back to securing third. Both Walter Mazzarri and Vincenzo Montella secured late victories on Sunday, putting the pressure firmly back on Allegri.

The fixture list looks a little kinder in the next few weeks, as Milan should feel confident of being able to take six points from their next two home games (against Catania and Torino).

However, with the Viola in particular seemingly peaking and finding a way at just the right time, Milan have to match that and find their second wind. The last three games have been disappointing; it is vital the next three don't follow the same pattern.

What did you make of Milan’s performance in Turin? Are you still confident they will hold on to third place?

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