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Football Reporting

AC Milan

Rebic rescues a point as Rossoneri remain unbeaten


AC Milan’s perfect start to the Serie A season was ended by Juventus, but Stefano Pioli’s side did well to battle back and earn a welcome draw.

It did not take long for the home side to take the lead as an early counter-attack was finished off with a cheeky dink from Alvaro Morata as the Rossoneri found themselves outnumbered at the back, and Juve seemed happy to try and sit and defend that lead.

However, inside the final 15 minutes their plan would come unstuck as the big game man Ante Rebic popped up to head home from a corner and ultimately secure a share of the spoils.

The result means that Milan remain eight points clear of their oldest rivals, who are still yet to win a game this season, and they will hope to recover some bodies for the upcoming midweek clash against Venezia.

Head coach Stefano Pioli entered the game battling a familiar injury crisis with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud, Davide Calabria, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Rade Krunic and Junior Messias all injured. Pioli made two changes to the line-up that lost to Liverpool, with Alessio Romagnoli and Sandro Tonali coming back in.

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Milan had the first half chance as some quick feet from Brahim Diaz ended with Tonali having a shot deflected wide, but Juve took the lead from the resulting corner. A swift counter-attack saw Alvaro Morata burst through on goal and Theo Hernandez could not catch up to him, with the Spaniard lifting the ball over the onrushing Maignan.

The home side continued with the energy and intensity that one might expect from a team coming into the game with an extra day of rest after a 3-0 midweek win, and Maignan was forced into a smart low save at his near post to deny a clever flick from Morata.

From the resulting corner there was yet more danger as the set piece ended up deep in the area where Morata headed back across goal, though it was eventually scrambled clear by Leao. Moments later Maignan saved yet again, this time at full stretch to deny a Dybala shot that was fizzing towards the bottom corner.

Milan’s first shot on target came in the 24th minute as Tonali saw a free-kick 30 yards out blocked before the Italian won the ball back and let fly from similar range, resulting in an easy same for Szczęsny.

Bonucci had a chance to score against his former club when a dangerous set piece was whipped in by Dybala, though the centre-back couldn’t keep his effort down when he needed to get over the ball.

Milan were guilty of getting caught flat footed at the back with their new three-man defence of Kjaer, Romagnoli and Tomori, but the latter man an excellent recovery to put Rabiot off as he looked to be through on goal after Dybala’s flick.

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There was a real blow in the 35th minute as Kjaer hobbled and pulled up, requesting to come off, and the Dane was replaced by Pierre Kalulu as Milan’s defence all of a sudden had a makeshift look about it.

Juve continued to have the main chances and Morata peeled off Tomori’s shoulder seven minutes from the break, eventually running out of pitch despite having a couple of shooting opportunities on the left side of the box.

Milan did manage to prise the Juve back line open momentarily when a Kalulu cut-back found Rebic in the box but his effort was blocked by Chiellini and the follow-up attempt from 25 yards was dragged wide by Tonali.

The first chance of the second half was for the home side as Bonucci provided a reminder of the excellent distribution he possesses, picking Rabiot out with a laser of a ball that the Frenchman could only divert wide with a side foot volley.

The game quickly descended into being quite sloppy and devoid of quality as the home side were happy to concede possession in the midfield and sit deep to soak up any pressure, with Rebic cutting a frustrated figure up front.

The Rossoneri did manage to get in behind on the hour mark as Brahim Diaz was found with an incisive pass but was unable to get his shot away before falling to the ground asking for a penalty that was never going to come.

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A double change came not long after as Alessandro Florenzi and Ismael Bennacer came on for Saelemaekers and Kessie respectively, aiming to inject some intensity into proceedings.

Tempers began to flare up when Morata dropped to the floor and Juve implored for Milan to kick the ball out but didn’t, and Dybala left a foot in on Tonali causing the pair to square up and each receive a booking.

Midway into the second half Leao tried to bring the game on level terms all by himself as he cut in onto his right foot and unleashed a fierce rising shot that went over, but not by a million miles.

Just as it looked as though time was running out for Milan, they levelled with 13 minutes left on the clock. A corner was rather inauspiciously won by Kalulu, and the set piece was whipped in beautifully by Tonali with Rebic waiting to glance a header in off the far post.

Rebic had another huge chance to put another dent in the scorebook when he was found by an excellent ball over the top, but with two men waiting in the middle he fired well over when he should have drawn a save at least.

There was a brilliant save from Szczęsny inside the final five minutes as a quick attack saw the ball spread wide to Kalulu who had run in behind, yet the Poland international produced a sensational reaction stop to tip it over.

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