Marchisio downs Milan to send Juve top

02 October 2011 10:35

Claudio Marchisio scored a dramatic late brace to give Juventus a 2-0 win over champions AC Milan and take them back to the top of Serie A on Sunday.

In the biggest test yet of Juve's title credentials the Turin giants dominated the match against a lacklustre and unrecognisable Milan but had to wait until three minutes from time to score a deserved winner.

The result leaves Juve above Udinese, who beat Bologna 2-0, on goals scored heading into the international break.

Juve coach Antonio Conte said it was too early to get over-excited by the club's positive start.

"We played well from every perspective, our approach, our intensity, we did very well," he said.

"We created a lot of chances, so well done to everyone. The path is still long for us, our fans have had too many disappointments in recent years.

"The only thing we can do is train hard to try to become competitive again because Juventus must do that."

Milan, though, remain hovering above the relegation zone in 15th, just a point above 17th placed neighbours Inter Milan, suffering from a similar early-season crisis.

Even so, Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said talk of their demise was premature.

"We'd played well in every game this season but this was our worst game," he said.

"We lost Napoli as well but we played much better. We didn't play well tonight but that's to Juventus's credit. There's nothing to worry about, we just need to improve."

Although it was played at high intensity from the off, the game took a while to warm up in terms of decent goalscoring chances.

And when it did, they all went Juve's way.

On 27 minutes Andrea Pirlo, facing his former employers for the first time since his summer move, sent in a free-kick that Christian Abbiati punched clear.

Mirko Vucinic went close on 37 minutes as his chip from outside the box was tipped onto the bar by Abbiati as Milan escaped again.

Still Juve poured forward and they wasted a great chance when Marchisio collected Arturo Vidal's dink into the box, took Gianluca Zambrotta out of the game with a sublime first touch but then rushed his shot and didn't trouble Abbiati.

The onslaught continued two minutes into the second period as Pirlo's cross from the left was flicked on by Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci found himself six yards out but seemed surprised by the arrival of the ball which hit him in the midriff and then his head before Abbiati acrobatically tipped it over the bar.

Milan's best chance came when Antonio Cassano picked out the returning Kevin-Prince Boateng but his cross-shot lacked conviction and Gianluigi Buffon tipped it around the post.

Vidal was hair's breadth away from giving Juve the lead 14 minutes from time when his vicious shot from 20 yards whisked just past the post while Vucinic curled another effort past the opposite upright.

The deadlock was finally broken when Marchiso went for a one-two with Vucinic and as he ran onto the return pass, Daniele Bonera, in trying to clear the danger, hooked the ball onto Marchisio's foot and beyond Abbiati.

In injury time Marchisio added a second thanks to woeful goalkeeping from Abbiati who let a speculative strike from 25 yards slip between his legs.

Goals from Morocco centre-back Mehdi Benatia and a captain Antonio Di Natale's penalty ensured Udinese maintained the form that took them to a surprise fourth last season.

Coach Francesco Guidolin admitted he was proud to take his side into the international break in second spot.

"From now until the resumption of the league we will enjoy this achievement," he said.

"It really is a great satisfaction, even though I get angry when I hear people in the stands comparing us with Barcelona."

Napoli are a point behind in third following a stunning 3-0 win at 10-man Inter on Saturday.

Source: AFP