All-action Sami Khedira and virtuoso Paulo Dybala lead Juventus past Milan
Juventus scored a controversial penalty in the final moment of the match to defeat AC Milan 2-1 and earn their 31st consecutive home win.
An excellent performance, Juventus showed ambition and intensity for the entirety of the match, creating an abundance of chances that were woefully squandered, or brilliantly saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, all too often. Paulo Dybala wreaked havoc between the lines yet it was centre-back Mehdi Benatia who created and finished off the opening goal of the game.
Gerard Deulofeu's pace proved to be Milan's secret weapon and a quick counter-attack left him with only a 35-year old Andrea Barzagli to overcome before delivering the perfect pass for Carlos Bacca to equalise.
Juventus began to get a little sloppy in the second half, conceding a few more opportunities to Milan but were awarded a penalty at the final moments of the game which was duly converted by Dybala to secure all three points.
They were sloppy at times, outdone by pace and counter-attacks, yet Juventus attacked and showed ambition from the first until the final minute, displaying great determination to seal another win at home.
The fact Juventus conceded from Milan's first shot on target is worrying, but what's even more disturbing is how often Juve squandered perfect goalscoring opportunities. Of their 24 shots, 11 were on target and should have resulted in more goals but Juve struggled. When we consider Barcelona can score six to overcome a huge deficit, Max Allegri will hope his men can convert their chances better in Europe.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Allegri erred when he opted to play Andrea Barzagli as a right-back considering he would struggle to match Deulofeu's speed, but addressed the mismatch for the second half. His Juve side showed ambition from beginning to end and produced a performance he can be proud of despite the absence of important players.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 6 -- Didn't look as composed as usual but always reacts quickly. Didn't have much to do.
DF Andrea Barzagli, 5 -- Couldn't match Deulofeu for pace leading to the Milan equaliser. Not the right match for him.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 5 -- Out of position and should have done better on Carlos Bacca's goal. Needed to get tighter at times to stop Lucas Ocampos from taking a shot in the second half but improved thereafter. Quite a few mistakes from the defender in recent weeks.
DF Mehdi Benatia, 6 -- Advanced very well, looking for his teammates to play him in so he could score and he did, assisted by Dani Alves. Good at holding off players to clear the ball but runs unnecessary risks at the back, including a terrifying back pass.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, 6 -- Very good at winning back possession high up the field to keep Juve in attack mode. Doesn't advance as well as Alex Sandro.
MF Sami Khedira, 7 -- Always in the right position, exploiting every gap up top and covering at the back -- incredible. If only he directed his headers better or scored from his opportunities with greater frequency. Boasts speed of thought allowing to make the right decisions quickly and happy to take a yellow card for the team in a bid to stop Milan.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 6 -- Not quite as precise as usual. Better in the first half when he directed play but struggled thereafter, delivering poor crosses. Not his usual brilliant self with the free kicks either.
MF Dani Alves, 6 -- Excellent at spotting his teammates and then proceeding to pick out perfect passes. Made a vital interception to stop Deulofeu and provided more support in the second half.
MF Paulo Dybala, 8 -- Lovely footwork to overcome the defenders who often surrounded him and brilliant in-between the lines to overwhelm Milan. Created more chances than any other player on the pitch, always looking to keep the team moving forward. Scored the winning penalty to boot.
MF Marko Pjaca, 6 -- Disappeared quickly in the first half. Needs to learn when to dribble and when to pass to avoid conceding possession, but he is quick to spot a goalscoring opportunity even if his execution lets him down. Perhaps continuity would help him improve. Lovely footwork.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 6 -- Not his best performance and struggled to make the impact he usually manages, but it's difficult to score against Donnarumma and Higuain nearly managed a fantastic winner in injury time.
DF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 6 -- Provided more energy on the right, delivering several crosses and believed in the winner until the end, and was on the ball when Juve won the penalty.
DF Daniele Rugani, N/A -- So composed, knows how to evade pressure and react quickly.
FW Moise Kean, N/A -- Not on long enough to make an impact.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.