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Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Deulofeu, Bacca link up again but Milan fall to Juve on controversial penalty

AC Milan fell to an agonising 2-1 defeat to Juventus in Turin on Friday night, with Paulo Dybala scoring with the last kick of the game following a controversial penalty decision. Carlos Bacca had earlier cancelled out Medhi Benatia's opener, but it wasn't enough as debate will rage over whether or not the correct decision was made at the death.

JuventusJuventus
AC MilanAC Milan
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Positives

It's evident that there is still a gap in quality between these two teams, but Milan showed grit, determination and unrivalled desire to take something from this game. Every player worked tirelessly off the ball, and they deserved a point after putting in a brilliant shift.

Negatives

The Milan midfield was never able to really take control of the game, and that ultimately led to plenty of pressure from Juventus. Further, with a clear emphasis on counter-attacking, the Rossoneri weren't able to consistently match the quality they showed in the move that led to their goal.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Vincenzo Montella made the right changes at the right times. Coupled with the fact that he set the team up well to frustrate Juve and break their rhythm, he also showed his class with his post-match comments as he noted; "Complaining doesn't get you anywhere. It's pointless. We have to focus, stay calm and accept referees make mistakes."

Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):

GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 8 -- Nothing that the youngster could have done to stop Benatia, and lost count of the number of top saves that he made throughout the game. Still have to pinch yourself over the fact that he's just 18 as he produced a world-class performance.

DF Cristian Zapata, 6 -- Put into context in that he was played out of position at right-back, it was a decent performance from the Colombian defender. Rarely emerged as an attacking threat though and was given a tough night by Marko Pjaca.

DF Gabriel Paletta, 7 -- Along with Zapata and Romagnoli, can pick holes in terms of the backline's inability to prevent the two goals. Aside from that though, he kept Gonzalo Higuain relatively quiet with a solid display.

DF Alessio Romagnoli, 7 -- As mentioned above, could have been more alert to Benatia for the first goal, but focused thereafter and contributed significantly to a tight-knit defensive effort to keep Juve at bay until the last-gasp penalty incident.

DF Mattia De Sciglio, 7 -- Given the captain's armband, there seems to be a more commanding and assured presence about the full-back. Was lucky not to see an error pounced on in the second half, and will feel rightly aggrieved over the penalty incident.

MF Mario Pasalic, 6 -- Take his wonderful pass into the path of Gerard Deulofeu in the build-up to Milan's goal away, this was an average display from the loanee. Can't be faulted for work rate as he covered so much ground, but nowhere near enough quality on the ball.

MF Jose Sosa, 6 -- Of the three midfielders, Sosa looked good with his sharp passing and clever runs between the lines to get Milan moving forward. However, ruined his night by picking up a silly second yellow card late on and now will face another suspension.

Carlos Bacca looked to be out the door in January but has rediscovered his goalscoring touch for Milan with four goals in three games.

MF Andrea Bertolacci, 6 -- Similarly to Pasalic, he battled hard in midfield and in many ways was crucial in unsettling Juve with his work off the ball. However, that only gets Milan so far as they need more from him on the ball to dominate a game.

FW Lucas Ocampos, 6 -- Struggled badly in the first half as he lost possession on countless occasions trying to get past his man. However, he never stopped running and he should be given credit for that, as his energy and desire up front was much needed.

FW Carlos Bacca, 7 -- Worked hard off the ball and was active in terms of making runs and trying to get in behind the Juve defence. Scored his fourth goal in his last three Serie A games, but could now face a spell on the sidelines as it's hoped his injury isn't too serious.

FW Gerard Deulofeu, 7 -- Aside from the booking for diving, the Spaniard was once again one of Milan's best performers and always looked a threat. With his pace, direct running and runs off the ball, he's finding his feet with the Rossoneri and he's working hard to help out defensively too.

Substitutes

MF Juraj Kucka, 6 -- Did the job that was expected of him as he added steel to the Milan midfield and more energy to try and limit Juve.

MF Andrea Poli, NR -- Similarly to Kucka, he was brought on to disrupt the home side and covered ground well with his energy and tenacious nature.

DF Leonel Vangioni, N/A -- A late introduction, he had little to no time to impact the game.

Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.

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