AC Milan emphatically enhanced their Champions League hopes at Juventus’ expense after a thumping 3-0 win at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
Rumoured Juve target Gianluigi Donnarumma enjoyed a quiet game after a controversial week in which Milan supporters reportedly demanded he missed the clash after contract negotiations had stalled, but the same could not be said for his Juve counterpart.
Wojciech Szczesny’s tepid punch allowed Brahim Diaz to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, although the Poland international redeemed himself to some extent by keeping out Franck Kessie’s second-half penalty.
There was little he could do about Ante Rebic’s stunning strike, however, and Fikayo Tomori’s late header made certain Stefano Pioli’s side moved up to third in the table. Juve, meanwhile, drop down to fifth with just three games remaining.
Giorgio Chiellini had failed to take a glorious chance to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark, the veteran defender heading wide at the back post from a corner with a flailing Donnarumma nowhere to be seen.
Milan then went ahead in stoppage time when Diaz superbly whipped into the top-right corner after Szczesny’s weak clearance from Hakan Calhanoglu’s free-kick had fallen kindly to him.
Szczesny made amends for his role in the opener, turning away Kessie’s 58th-minute spot-kick after Diaz’s shot had hit Chiellini’s arm – the penalty given after referee Paolo Valeri had reviewed the incident on the pitchside monitor – but the reprieve did not trigger a Juve fightback.
Instead, Rebic, who had replaced the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 66th minute, put the game out of the home team’s reach with a glorious long-range strike into Szczesny’s top-left corner.
On-loan Chelsea defender Tomori powered home a header from Calhanoglu’s cross with eight minutes remaining as Milan ended a run of nine straight away league defeats to Juventus in eye-catching style.
What does it mean? Pirlo’s dire season reaches a new low
After being dumped out of the Champions League in the last 16 by Porto and relinquishing their nine-season stranglehold on the Serie A title, the very least Pirlo needed to do to ensure he is in charge next season is secure a top-four finish in the league.
However, that is looking increasingly unlikely now and he should count himself lucky if he even remains in the job for the club’s final three games of a desperate campaign after this dismal defeat.
Diaz’s sublime goal came from one of four shots – the most of any player on the pitch. That strike meant he became the youngest Milan player (21 years and 279 days) to score away from home against Juve in Serie A since Alexandre Pato (19y 103d) back in December 2008.
Ronaldo sums up Juve’s woes
Serie A’s leading scorer endured a game to forget, taking just two shots and playing only one key pass to a team-mate. Remarkably, the Portuguese superstar failed to take a single touch inside the Milan area in the first half.
– Milan have won 14 away games in Serie A this season. In the history of the competition, only Inter have done better (15 in 2006/07).
– Juventus have conceded goals in all of their last 11 league outings, their worst streak in Serie A since April 2010.
– Diaz has scored two goals in his last six league games, having scored just once in his first 18.
– Goalkeeper Szczesny has saved three of the four penalties he has faced against Milan in Serie A fixtures.
– Juve have not managed a single shot on target in the first half in three of their past five Serie A games; the Bianconeri had always done so in their first 30 fixtures.
Both sides are in Serie A action on Wednesday, Juve travelling to Sassuolo and Milan returning to Turin to face Torino.
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