DRAMA AT THE DEATH

Con­tro­ver­sial late penalty helps Ju­ven­tus beat Mi­lan

New Straits Times - - Sport -

FINO ALLA FINE (Un­til the end) is the Ju­ven­tus motto and they lived up to it again as Paulo Dy­bala con­verted a penalty with the last kick of the match to beat AC Mi­lan 2-1 in Serie A on Fri­day.

Teen goal­keeper Gian­luigi Don­narumma ap­peared to have earned Mi­lan a pre­cious point with some fine saves but Ju­ven­tus were awarded a dis­puted penalty deep in stop­page time af­ter Mat­tia De Sciglio was judged to have han­dled Stephan Licht­steiner’s cross.

Mi­lan play­ers sur­rounded the of­fi­cials and goal-scorer Car­los Bacca had to be pulled away from the ref­eree by coach Vin­cenzo Mon­tella af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

“We ex­ag­ger­ated at the end of the match and I apol­o­gise for the fi­nal uproar, but I hope ... they can un­der­stand why there was a lot of ten­sion,” Mon­tella said.

“Re­gard­less of the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the in­ci­dent, we should trans­mit more pos­i­tive and calmer mes­sages.

“I say we should let the of­fi­cials make mis­takes in peace. I don’t like to hear too many com­plaints: We all need to be cau­tious and calm and ac­cept the ver­dict on the pitch.”

Ju­ven­tus, who play Porto in the sec­ond leg of their Cham­pi­ons League last 16 matchup on Tues­day, ex­tended their Serie A record to 31 con­sec­u­tive home wins.

Ju­ven­tus moved 11 points clear of sec­ond-placed Roma and 13 ahead of Napoli. Roma visit Palermo to­day, shortly af­ter Napoli host Cro­tone.

“When de­ci­sions go against us no one says any­thing. When they’re in our favour bed­lam hap­pens,” coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri said. “Ours is a de­served vic­tory.”

Mi­lan re­mained sev­enth, a point be­hind Inter Mi­lan, who host fifth-placed Ata­lanta to­day.

Ju­ven­tus took the lead on the half hour through an un­likely goal-scorer.

Medhi Be­na­tia beat the off­side trap to con­trol Dani Alves’ chipped pass and smash it past Don­narumma from close range for his first goal for the club.

Mi­lan lev­elled two min­utes from half­time fol­low­ing great work from Ger­ard Deulofeu, who sprinted down the left from in­side his own half, cut in­side, and threaded the ball through for Bacca to fire into the bot­tom right corner.

Ju­ven­tus and Italy goal­keeper Gian­luigi Buf­fon was merely a spec­ta­tor for most of the match and had plenty of time to ad­mire his heir ap­par­ent.

Don­narumma turned 18 only last month but he has al­ready played more than 60 times in Serie A and made two Italy ap­pear­ances.

He no­tably kept out a Mi­ralem Pjanic free kick then de­nied Sami Khedira with the help of De Sciglio’s goal-line clearance. He also man­aged to de­flect Pjanic’s shot onto the cross­bar.

Mi­lan mid­fielder Jose Sosa was sent off fol­low­ing a sec­ond book­ing in the third minute of stop­page time and Ju­ven­tus upped the pres­sure.

Gon­zalo Higuain’s ac­ro­batic ef­fort was par­ried by Don­narumma but the ball was crossed back into the area and struck De Sciglio’s arm from point-blank range.

Don­narumma guessed the right way but was un­able to keep out Dy­bala’s spot kick, un­like in the Ital­ian Su­per Cup where he kept out the Ar­gen­tine’s ef­fort in the penalty shootout, won by Mi­lan.

REUTERS PIC

AC Mi­lan’s Gabriel Paletta (left) and Ju­ven­tus’ Marko Pjaca bat­tle for the ball in Turin on Fri­day.

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