++ [ originally posted by Martin ] ++
Juventus - Milan 1 - 0
89' Dhorasoo o.g.
The game dominated by dull, unspectacular football by Juventus who kept tight at the back while Milan had 65% ball possession and fired 16 shots on goal, 3 absolute cannons denied by Buffon, 2 others deflected inches wide of the post. At the other end, Zlatan was twice denied with thundering shots from the corner flag in true Rivaldo fashion while Nedved had 8 shot attempts, all of them blocked by Nesta/Maldini. Most dominant on the pitch was Kaka, who outsmarted Emerson on several occasions, one of them leading up to a controversial situation in the box when Sheva chested down the pass and was clipped by Zebina from behind. The referee booked Sheva for passive diving. Shortly thereafter, a corner kick in favor of Milan, cleared by Cannavaro, who launched a long ball for Ibrahimovic, the latter being 20m offside at the time. The linesman was playing tetris on his mobile phone and was caught out. Ibrahimovic pulled 7 fakes on Dida before the latter gave up and stepped aside but he did agree to lob the ball for Ibrahimovic who wanted to score from a bicycle kick. The lob was good but the kick was less good, the ball was taken home by the young Milanista in the uppermost row of the stadio. In the closing moments of the first 45, Crespo came one on one with Buffon thanks to a gorgeous through ball from Rui Costa but squandered it as he beat Buffon but not Chimenti.
In the 2nd half, Milan kicked off with a more offensive mentality, effectively playing 2-3-1-4 as Cafu and Serginho pushed forward but failed to track back. Taking advantage of the positional supremacy, Kapo raced into the box and crossed for Del Piero who failed to connect with the ball. At the other end, a cross from Serginho was received by Sheva who powered a header on goal. But Buffon was equal to it and as the rebound fell to Kaka, the referee inadvertently cleared the ball into row z. Another corner kick was given for Milan moments later when Cafu's header hit the post. The rebound was struck by Gattuso but it was no good as Zlatan positioned himself in the air upside down to take the ball down elegantly and pushed it out wide for Zebina. He then tripped over Rui's foot as he was walking away for which the Portuguese was sent off. Rui at the time was on the floor in agony after Cannavaro clattered into him in an aerial challenge. In the 74th minute, Camoranesi outfoxed Cafu and skipped into the box where he was confronted by Nesta and fell under the challenge. Del Piero's spot kick was saved by Gattuso who raced into the box. The referee booked Gattuso and signaled a retake. Dida covered his eyes as Del Piero hit the post. Precise on 80 minutes, Capello swapped Del Piero for Zalayeta, who greeted all the Milan players on the pitch. Moments later, Zalayeta played a back heel to Kapo but the Frenchman arrived late and the cross was stolen by Maldini who launched Gattuso. Gattuso fed Crespo who missed his ball reception but recovered as Thuram struggled to control it as well, and fired between Canna's legs, hitting the bar. 5 minutes from time, on the speakers in the Delle Alpi came "the Final Countdown" to which Buffon started dancing. On 86 Zalayeta controlled a pass from Thuram before he dribbled Nesta and Maldini but his lob was saved by Dida who never came off his line. The goal kick was received by Serginho at the corner flag but no offside was called. The Brazilian crossed into the box as Tomasson was in route but the Danish striker missed the ball. Instead it was recovered by Zambrotta who launched a final attack before full time. Tacchinardi to Emerson, Emerson to Kapo, Kapo to Nedved, Nedved to Ibrahimovic. Milan's defence was shattered as Zlatan stood face to face with Dida. As he was about to take the shot, Dhorasoo raced in to clear but inadvertently played the ball past his own keeper. Ancelotti came running up and tried to strangle Dida but Maldini pulled them apart. The 14 minutes of injury time saw Milan in possession without exception, as Juve lined up inside their own penalty box. 23 shots were fired, all of them off target, Buffon was still busy getting his groove on.
Questioned about his team's performance, Capello was moderately satisfied. "We struggled a lot through Milan's offensive pressure but we showed strength in scoring the winning goal just before the whistle. Ancelotti should learn to relax, those young people are too hot headed."