Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Controversial late penalty goal helps Juve win

AP

AC Milan’s Carlos Bacca attempts to control the ball during their game against Juventus at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, Italy, on Friday.

Photo: EPA

Fino alla fine (Until the end) is the Juventus motto and they lived up to it again as Paulo Dybala converted a penalty with the last kick of the match to beat AC Milan 2-1 and go 11 points clear in Serie A on Friday.

Teen goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma appeared to have earned Milan a precious point with some fine saves, but Juventus were awarded a disputed penalty deep in stoppage time after Mattia De Sciglio was judged to have handled Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross.

Milan players surrounded the officials and goalscorer Carlos Bacca had to be pulled away from the referee by Milan manager Vincenzo Montella after the final whistle.

“We exaggerated at the end of the match and I apologize for the final uproar, but I hope ... they can understand why there was a lot of tension,” Montella said. “Regardless of the interpretation of the incident, we should transmit more positive and calmer messages.”

“I say we should let the officials make mistakes in peace. I don’t like to hear too many complaints: We all need to be cautious and calm and accept the verdict on the pitch,” he said.

Juventus, who are to play Porto in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 matchup on Tuesday, extended their Serie A record to 31 consecutive home wins.

“When decisions go against us no one says anything. When they’re in our favor bedlam happens,” Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said. “Ours is a deserved victory.”

Juventus took the lead on the half hour through an unlikely goalscorer. Medhi Benatia beat the offside trap to control Dani Alves’ chipped pass and smash it past Donnarumma from close range for his first goal for the club.

Milan leveled two minutes from halftime following great work from Gerard Deulofeu, who sprinted down the left from inside his own half, cut inside, and threaded the ball through for Bacca to fire into the bottom-right corner.

Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was merely a spectator for most of the match and had plenty of time to admire his heir apparent.

Donnarumma turned 18 only last month, but he has already played more than 60 times in Serie A and made two Italy appearances.

He notably kept out a Miralem Pjanic free-kick then denied Sami Khedira with the help of De Sciglio’s goal-line clearance. He also deflected Pjanic’s shot onto the crossbar.

Milan midfielder Jose Sosa was sent off following a second booking in the third minute of stoppage-time and Juventus increased the pressure.

Gonzalo Higuain’s acrobatic effort was parried by Donnarumma, but the ball was crossed back into the area and struck De Sciglio’s arm from point-blank range.

Donnarumma guessed the right way, but was unable to keep out Dybala’s spot-kick.

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