Welcome to the 5 Things recap by theScore's Anthony Lopopolo, which highlights AC Milan's performances over the 2018-19 season. Here, a breakdown of Juventus' 1-0 victory over Milan in the Supercoppa Italiana.
1. Milan's defense almost lasts
Genuine chances were few and far between on Wednesday, but Juventus only needed one to win the match. Miralem Pjanic assisted Cristiano Ronaldo with a perfect arching long ball, and the Portuguese did well to beat Milan's otherwise efficient offside trap. It was just one of three shots on target that Juventus had all night. Milan's defense had held its own before that goal, collapsing in the penalty area to restrict Juventus' freedom and force them into less dangerous areas of the pitch. The full-backs tucked inside and the wingers tracked back, but the sacrifices weren't enough. Juventus showed once again they have the quality to break down the most stubborn defensive lines.
2. Donnarumma makes crucial error
As well executed as the goal was, Gianluigi Donnarumma dropped his guard at a pivotal moment of the match. He simply let it happen. Donnarumma may have thought Ronaldo was offside, but a greater effort was needed. It was hoped that Donnarumma, coming off a string of match-saving performances, had cut these kinds of errors out of his game. He was tormented by Juventus in the Coppa Italia final, allowing four goals in a heavy defeat, and unfortunately succumbed again to the Bianconeri. Donnarumma has to be sharper in big matches.
3. Milan's attack ineffective
Patrick Cutrone may have been unlucky to hit the crossbar, but he and his teammates didn't ask enough questions of the Juventus defense. It was a comfortable evening for Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, with Samu Castillejo and Hakan Calhanoglu firing shots wide or into other players. Cutrone tried his best to get into scoring positions but lacked service. Milan couldn't exchange meaningful passes in the final third, and the counterattack evaporated on almost every occasion.
4. Rodriguez suffers on the left
Ricardo Rodriguez was overmatched and overawed by Ronaldo, Douglas Costa, and Joao Cancelo. He was routinely victimized at the left-back position, unable to keep up with Costa's runs or Cancelo's trickery. And it was Rodriguez who kept Ronaldo onside before the winning goal. Although the Swiss international has worked harder on his defensive game this season, he was completely out of his depth against Juventus' attackers. Costa dribbled past Rodriguez with ease and Cancelo forced his opposite number to play on the balls of his feet.
5. Banti causes controversy
It couldn't be a final without a bit of controversy. Match official Luca Banti angered Milan supporters when he overlooked Emre Can's tackle on Andrea Conti in second-half stoppage time. Conti was on the verge of falling over when Can stepped into a challenge and missed the ball. It's unclear whether Banti spoke with the video assistant referee on duty, and that's a problem. Whether or not it was a penalty, the lack of transparency caused confusion. No one knows when referees conduct silent checks and why certain instances require the referee to manually review the footage. VAR is only bringing on more debate.
Copyright © 2019 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.