The Serie A leaders were beaten for the first time this season in the league, with Federico Chiesa of Juventus stealing the show.
Did Federico Chiesa pick up some of his father’s tips prior to the Juventus Milan visit? In his career, Enrico scored goals all over the place, but he always seemed to be doing something special when he faced the Rossoneri: the red and black flag for his bull.
He scored 17 times, more than against any other club, in 24 Serie A and Coppa Italia matches. Not bad, considering the names sent against him by some of the defenders: Baresi, Costacurta, Maldini, Nesta and Stam.
Not quite in that category was the back four that started for Milan on Wednesday.
The promising partnership in central defense was formed by Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjær, but you feel that the Italian has yet to reach his full potential, while his partner is struggling due to a lack of pace. Diogo Dalot made only his third Serie A appearance on the right-hand side of defense.
One of the best Milan signings in years, Theo Hernández, still has a long way to go before he finds himself in such an illustrious company.
And it was intended to be one of the worst left-back games in a long time.
When Chiesa left Hernández behind for the first time, crossed inside from the right touchline, laid off the ball for Paulo Dybala, and accelerated toward the penalty area, less than 20 minutes had been played. The ball came back to him over the Argentine, and Chiesa tucked a deft back heel kick into the far corner of it.
It was a wonderful start to a game that would have kept its audience on the edge of their seats.
Earlier, Chiesa had already hit the woodwork when he put a half-volley against the right post after Wojciech Szczesny had made a brilliant save to keep out Samu Castillejo at the other end.
Brilliant from Juve! Chiesa and Dybala combine great and the winger scores the opening goal pic.twitter.com/4kU2VQInqV
January 6, 2021
The stakes were as high as they could possibly be at such an early stage in the season.
Milan, unbeaten in 28 league games, had a chance to move four points clear at the top after Inter lost to Sampdoria on Wednesday.
A win would have given Juventus Torino, the Serie A champions for the last nine seasons, a 13-point lead.
Both teams were missing key players.
Milan has been without Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ismaël Bennacer since mid-December, but Sandro Tonali’s suspension and positive Covid tests from Rade Krunic and Ante Rebic meant coach Stefano Pioli was forced to use right-back Davide Calabria in central midfield.
Up front, Juventus had to do without Álvaro Morata – the only player in the squad besides Cristiano Ronaldo to have scored more than two goals this league season.
Both full-backs, Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado, were also out after testing positive for Covid.
However, both teams did not seem to be discouraged by these setbacks and tried to play forward. Chances abounded in the first 45 minutes.
It was a back pass from Bentancur in his own penalty area that set up Castillejo’s early chance, and Aaron Ramsey was equally careless with a pass across the box that went straight to Milan’s Jens Petter Hauge.
The Rossoneri equalized in the 41st minute when Calabria finished with a superb shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
The 1-1 score reflected the even nature of the game, but it was a surprise that VAR did not intervene after Hakan Calhanoglu fouled Adrien Rabiot early in the move.
Chiesa, however, was not done yet. A month earlier, after Juventus’ win against Dinamo Kyiv, a journalist had asked him if there were any traits he would like to steal from his father. Federico didn’t mention Milan at the time, answering instead, “His ability to shoot with both feet. He had phenomenal coordination.”
Perhaps he inherited more than he knows. After scoring the opening goal with his right boot, Chiesa put Juventus back in front with his left foot. He ran straight at Hernández, keeping the defender off balance before firing into the bottom corner, giving Gianluigi Donnarumma no chance from 20 yards.
Chiesa does it again! The 23-year-old came off the pitch with what looked like a knock right after the goal, but what a performance! pic.twitter.com/w1X9vEY9LL
January 6, 2021
It was the turning point.
Milan did not give themselves g