AC Milan finally got one over Juventus thanks to a come from behind 4-2 victory at San Siro on Tuesday. This ensured Stefano Pioli recorded his first win as a manager over The Old Lady while Milan’s hopes of European football was given a huge shot in the arm.
Juventus, meanwhile, missed the chance to go 10 points clear in the race for the title as they let a two-goal lead slip following a remarkable second half by Milan. At the start of a crucial week in which Juve also face in-form Atalanta, the runaway leaders had been boosted by news of another defeat for second-placed Lazio ahead of kick-off.
The Bianconeri had a sensational opener courtesy of Adrien Rabiot followed by a swift second by Cristiano Ronaldo. But this was not before the two sides went into the break goalless. An avalanche of goals greeted the resumption as Milan staged a rapid recovery after trailing following Juve’s immediate claim on proceedings through Rabiot’s strike.
Zlatan Ibrahimović started the recovery from the penalty spot for Milan, before Franck Kessie, Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic all joined the bandwagon. Missing the suspended Paulo Dybala, Maurizio Sarri’s side could not rally and remain seven points ahead of Lazio, while a belligerent Milan on the night climbed to fifth.
Few could have imagined such a chaotic second period when an offside flag against Ibrahimović ensured the sides went into the break scoreless after a first half of precious little action. But Rabiot required just over a minute to change the game’s complexion; breaking the deadlock in magnificent fashion. The midfielder collected the ball just inside his own half and brushed off Kessie before advancing, nutmegging Theo Hernandez and then, 20 yards from goal, arrowing a left-footed shot into the top-right corner.
There was little the Milan defence could do to deny Rabiot, but Alessio Romagnoli and Simon Kjaer would be well advised to avoid replays of Juve’s second; the pair colliding to give Ronaldo time and space to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma. Just as the Bianconeri looked set to coast to victory, a VAR review spotted a handball from Leonardo Bonucci inside the area, allowing Ibrahimović to convert from 12 yards.
The momentum swung and suddenly Milan were in the ascendancy. A wonderful team move created space for Kessie to shoot inside the area – a deflection deceiving Wojciech Szczesny – while Leao drove a low strike through the goalkeeper for a third goal in six minutes to turn the tide. Juve threatened to battle back as Donnarumma saved superbly from Daniele Rugani, but an earlier denied Rebic lashed in Milan’s fourth to clinch the points.
Ronaldo thought he had netted again in stoppage time, only to be ruled offside. Juventus remain top with a seven-point cushion over Lazio despite a truly remarkable comeback from Milan robbed them of all three points at the San Siro. Maurizio Sarri will hope this result does not disrupt the rest of the campaigner for his side, who prepare to host Atalanta in their next game out on Saturday.