The common takeaway was that Milan were clearly the better side on Sunday night against rival Juventus. And you know what? That's the honest truth and something I won't disagree with whatsoever. There's going to be no denying that Clarence Seedorf has his squad ready to play and they showed up for one heck of a test.
But the difference between Milan and Juventus — besides the obvious 2-0 final scoreline — was the fact that one team was able to take advantage of the few chances they got, while the other was left utterly frustrated with their lack of success in front of the opposing goal.
Milan were very good for the majority of the game. Damn good in the first half, actually. They were pressing Juve hard and had the possession numbers clearly in their favor. Juve's response to it all? Not much, really. There were plenty of careless turnovers by players in black and white jerseys and not much being created in the final third of the field in the opening 45 minutes by Antonio Conte's side.
Then, in a blink of an eye, the difference maker.
Claudio Marchisio to Carlos Tevez to Stephan Llchtsteiner to Fernando Llorente. A team goal if there ever was one by Juventus. Just like that, 1-0 Juventus mere moments before the halftime whistle.
And once Carlos Tevez dropped the absolute hammer, netting a goal that no keeper in the world would ever have a chance to stop, there was only one thing to say: Game. Set. Match. Thanks for coming, folks.
#Buffon: @carlitos3210's goal? It was an incredible strike that eased the pressure on us. #MilanJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 2, 2014
It was one of those games where the more clinical side was the victorious one. Juventus have five shots on goal, scored two of them. Milan had nine shots on target, but didn't see a single one find the back of the net.
Because of that, Juve now have a double-digit lead atop the Serie A table for the first time all season. Plus-11, folks. It sounds pretty good to say, so don't shy away from it.
Random thoughts and observations
- Football Italia had a blog earlier in the week about Gigi Buffon nearing the end of his career and that Juve should probably starting to think about replacing him sooner rather than later. Well, what did Buffon do against Milan? Only make eight saves, many of which were big-time reaction stops on absolute rockets. He's still got it. Not that I ever doubted it.
- When Buffon wasn't making spectacular save after spectacular save, Leonardo Bonucci was. Judging by how the first half ended going, how incredibly important was Bonucci's goal-line clearance? Kick save and a beauty.
- Carlos Tevez, your new leading scorer in Serie A with 15 goals.
Carlos Tévez: Has now scored 15 league goals this season, as many as he scored in his 2 previous seasons combined #Juve— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 2, 2014
- Is it approaching the time where Paul Pogba gets a game or two of rest? Obviously the current suspension situation will prevent that — Andrea Pirlo is suspended for Fiorentina's visit to Turin next Sunday after getting a yellow card against Milan – but Pogba is nowhere close to playing his best ball right now. Maybe it's mental fatigue just as much as being physically tired, I dunno. But the kid needs a rest. You can just see it the last few games.
- Sunday's game just reaffirmed how important Arturo Vidal is to the Juventus midfield — as if we didn't know it already. There was just that extra something lacking against Milan. And that was everything Vidal brings to the table.
- I said in the preview that it will be interesting to see what this Milan side under Seedorf is really all about. They have been getting a decent amount of pub during the week, but as we know, it's one thing to beat Sampdoria, it's another thing to run with the best team in the country. I must admit, I was pretty impressed with his team played. They came out with a plan, executed it quite well, and certainly should have done more in front of goal. If they finished in front of goal like how they executed for most of the game, it would have been a much different kind of story for Juventus.
- Game Time Thread: Juventus vs. AC Milan
- Juventus vs. AC Milan Preview: Round 26 — The Devil Wears Rossonero
- UEFA Europa League: Juventus vs. Trabzonspor full match coverage
- Juventus 2:0 Trabzonspor — Turkish delight for the Old Lady
- Juventus 2 - Trabzonspor 0: Initial reaction and random observations