Juventus down AC Milan to top Italian Serie A

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Claudio Marchisio scored a dramatic late brace to give Juventus a 2-0 win over champions AC Milan and take them back to the top of Italian Serie A on Sunday.

In the biggest test yet of Juventus’s title credentials the Turin giants dominated the match against a lacklustre and unrecognisable Milan but had to wait until three minutes from time to score a deserved winner.

The result leaves Juventus above Udinese, who beat Bologna 2-0, on goals scored heading into the international break.

Milan, though, remain hovering above the relegation zone in 15th, just a point above 17th placed neighbours Inter Milan, suffering from a similar early-season crisis.

Although it was played at high intensity from the off, the game took a while to warm up in terms of decent goalscoring chances.

And when it did, they all went Juve’s way.

On 27 minutes Andrea Pirlo, facing his former employers for the first time since his summer move, sent in a free-kick that was too close to Christian Abbiati who punched it clear.

Mirko Vucinic went close on 37 minutes as his chip from outside the box was tipped onto the bar by Abbiati and Milan escaped again.

Still Juve poured forward and they wasted a great chance when Marchisio collected Arturo Vidal’s dink into the box, took Gianluca Zambrotta out of the game with a sublime first touch but then rushed his shot and didn’t trouble Abbiati.

The onslaught continued two minutes into the second period as Pirlo’s cross from the left was flicked on by Simone Pepe and Leonardo Bonucci found himself six yards out but seemed surprised by the arrival of the ball which hit him in the midriff and then his head before Abbiati acrobatically tipped it over the bar.

Milan’s best chance came when Antonio Cassano picked out the returning Kevin-Prince Boateng but his cross-shot lacked conviction and Gianluigi Buffon tipped it around the post.

Thiago Silva came to Mark van Bommel’s rescue when the Dutch veteran’s wayward pass sent Vucinic haring in on goal but the Brazilian defender got back to snuff out the danger.

Vidal was hair’s breadth away from giving Juve the lead 14 minutes from time when his vicious shot from 20 yards whisked just past the post while Vucinic curled another effort past the opposite upright.

The deadlock was finally broken when Marchiso went for a one-two with Vucinic and as he ran onto the return pass, Daniele Bonera, in trying to clear the danger, hooked the ball onto Marchisio’s foot and beyond Abbiati.

In injury time Marchisio added a second thanks to woeful goalkeeping from Abbiati who let a speculative strike from 25 yards slip between his legs.

Despite selling stars Alexis Sanchez (to Barcelona) and Gokhan Inler (to Napoli) in the summer, Udinese proved they have lost none of the verve that took them to a fourth-placed finish last season and qualification for the Champions League play-offs, where they were beaten by Arsenal.

Morocco centre-back Mehdi Benatia gave them the lead on 29 minutes when Pablo Armero’s corner was headed goalwards by Damiano Ferronetti only to hit Benatia, who nonetheless was quick to swivel and shoot home.

Captain Antonio Di Natale then scored from the spot after Diego Perez committed a terrible foul from behind on Pablo Armero.

Coach Francesco Guidolin admitted he was proud to take his side into the international break in second spot.

“From now until the resumption of the league we will enjoy this achievement,” he said.

“It really is a great satisfaction, even though I get angry when I hear people in the stands comparing us with Barcelona.”

Napoli are a point behind in third following a stunning 3-0 win at 10-man Inter on Saturday.

Italian Serie A results:

Novara 3 Catania 3
Cesena 0 Chievo 0
Fiorentina 1 Lazio 2
Lecce 0 Cagliari 2
Palermo 2 Siena 0
Parma 3 Genoa 1
Udinese 2 Bologna 0
Juventus 2 AC Milan 0

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