And so, AC Milan wins yet another edition of the Trofeo Berlusconi. Which, according to the trophy’s tradition, would mean the Rossoneri will not win the Scudetto and that Juventus will have a very good season this year. I’m satisfied with that. Not so much with the Bianconeri’s performance in the first half.
Due to work commitments I only had time to catch the first 45 minutes of this match, and according to reports I most definitely got the short end of the stick. Indeed, the 2011 edition of the Trofeo Luigi Berlusconi was a tale of two halves. The first one, largely dominated by our “devilish” rivals, and this in spite of several of their main stars (Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho, Thiago Silva) missing. And the second, with an ADP-inspired Juventus finally getting its head out of its shell, reacting to reduce the 2-0 HT scoreline through Vucinic and even coming close to sending the game to penalties.
Other than the reaction of pride in the second portion of the game (well-appreciated by Antonio Conte, who surely must take some credit due a highly probable half-time “hair-dryer treatment”), also interesting was Arturo Vidal’s utilization as left midfielder, which is just further confirmation of the coach’s confidence in the player’s high versatility. But let’s proceed in order.
The first half, as already mentioned, was an almost exclusive single-team display. AC Milan, taking the opportunity of the San Siro venue had, just before the match started, put up a small celebration of their Supercoppa Italiana success against Inter in China. The Rossoneri seemingly wanted to recreate their good Beijing vibes, because they came on Juventus all guns blazing. Right after Cassano had sent a warning shot narrowly wide of Buffon’s post, the Rossoneri opened the score as early as the 9th minute of play. Exploiting a good cross from the right by Abate, Kevin-Prince Boateng armed an powerful but precise volley and put the ball where Buffon could not reach. 1-0 Milan. Less than a quarter hour later, Allegri’s team had doubled their lead. Following a rather dubious handball call on Vidal, Clarence Seedorf stepped up from 25 yards and delivered a perfect curling effort right inside the far post, leaving Buffon completely rooted to the spot. 2-0 Milan with 23 minutes on the clock.
And Juventus in all this? Quite absent. With the exception of Marchisio’s left-footed effort off Abbiati’s post, the Bianconeri were struggling to get any real passing momentum going, perhaps also hindered by the tropical weather conditions of San Siro Sunday night. Not to mention the lack of interaction between Matri & Vucinic, or the rather anonymous contribution of Vidal on the left wing. Speaking of Matri, the ex-Cagliari man picked up a knock on his ankle, and before the half even ended had to come off substituted by Del Piero.
The Bianconeri’s renewal in the second half started precisely from their iconic captain. Less mobile than the “other” Alessandro, but certainly with a keener eye for technique and tactical play (particularly in the role of tying forwards & midfield together). Pinturicchio also seems a much better partner for Mirko Vucinic as well, so it was no surprise when the two combined to produce the Montenegrin’s goal in the 57th minute: from Pirlo to Del Piero, sliding ball for Vucinic and winning “poke” by Mirko to beat Abbiati. 2-1. Just a few minutes prior, ADP had already worried the Milan defense with an illuminating dribble to clear two defenders (but not the third) shortly followed a close-range effort saved by Abbiati, after yet another great Pirlo delivery.
There weren’t many highlights left in the game at this point, save for two penalty requests (denied) for handballs inside the box by Ely (Milan) and De Ceglie (Juventus), as well as a Kingsley Boateng curling effort striking the post (the same one hit by Marchisio in the first half). The final 5 minutes saw the appearance of Fabio Quagliarella, at his first official game since his injury vs. Chivas Guadalajara.
As the full-time whistle came down bestowing AC Milan with the trophy, Juventus can have one regret, and that is to miss out their first half completely. However in the second period, Juventini can take solace in the fact our team reacted with pride, reducing the score and playing much much better football to take the play into our opponents’ half.
With the Trofeo Berlusconi, Juventus’s 2011 pre-season is officially over. Our boys’ next fixture will be for the opening day of Serie A, at Stadio Friuli vs. Udinese!!
1st Half – FULL HIGHLIGHTS [Arabic Commentary]
2nd Half – FULL HIGHLIGHTS [Arabic Commentary]
|GOALSCORERS: 9′ K.P. Boateng (M), 23′ Seedorf (M), 57′ Vucinic (J).
|MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Abate (89′ Oddo), Nesta (58′ Ely), Bonera, Taiwo (47′ Zambrotta) – Gattuso (65′ Kingsley Boateng), Ambrosini, Seedorf (85′ Antonini) – K.P. Boateng (30’ Flamini), Emanuelson – Cassano. COACH: Allegri. (UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Amelia, Ganz).|
| JUVENTUS (4-2-4): Buffon – Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie (85′ Ziegler) – Marchisio (72′ Pazienza), Pirlo – Krasic (85′ Quagliarella), Matri (44’ Del Piero), Vucinic, Vidal (54′ Pasquato). COACH: Conte. (UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Storari, Sorensen).
What They Said After the Game:
LICHTSTEINER, CONTE, CHIELLINI: