AC Milan 0 Juventus 2: Higuain sent off in horror show

Gonzalo Higuain missed a penalty and was sent off in a nightmare meeting with Juventus as his woes cost AC Milan dear in a 2-0 loss at San Siro on Sunday.

Having overcome a back problem to start, Higuain – moved out on loan following Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Turin – might have wished he skipped the visit of his parent club after Wojciech Szczesny denied him from the spot in the 41st minute.

The champions had already established an eighth-minute lead through Mario Mandzukic and made the result safe thanks to Ronaldo’s sealer nine minutes from time.

An incensed Higuain then rounded out his personal horror show by reacting furiously to a booking as Juve bounced back from their midweek Champions League loss to Manchester United.

Their clean sheet, and with it a six-point lead at the top, came despite Leonardo Bonucci watching from the bench at the ground where he spent a mixed 12 months.

Bonucci, who headed back in the opposite direction over the off-season, was surprisingly dropped to Juve’s bench but Medhi Benatia proved an able replacement aside from his inadvertent part in the penalty.

Milan’s confidence from a three-match Serie A winning streak was quickly eroded as Mandzukic climbed above Ricardo Rodriguez and met Alex Sandro’s cross with a commanding downward header.

Their misery deepened just before the break with Higuain, who won the penalty via a VAR review of Benatia’s handball, out-thought from the spot.

Szczesny instructed his former team-mate to shoot to the left and Higuain obliged, allowing the goalkeeper to make his second penalty save against the Rossoneri.

Ronaldo, quiet in the first half, forced Gianluigi Donnarumma into a smart stop soon after the restart, but he only had to wait until the 81st minute to get his goal from Joao Cancelo’s pass.

And, after receiving a receiving a talking to from the referee, Higuain ranted his way into an early bath to cap a miserable night for himself and Milan.


AC Milan striker Higuain fit to face parent club Juventus

AC Milan striker Gonzalo Higuain has been included in the Rossoneri squad to face parent club Juventus on Sunday.

Higuain missed Thursday’s Europa League draw against Real Betis with a back injury, but is in Milan’s 25-man group to face the Serie A leaders.

The striker initially suffered the injury in last weekend’s win at Udinese, a game in which Higuain was withdrawn in the first half. 

The Argentina international is on loan at Milan from Juventus, who allowed him to leave following the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Higuain has hit five goals in nine Serie A appearances and will be out to impress against his employers at San Siro on Sunday.

Emre Can remains out for Juventus as the Germany midfielder recovers from surgery on a thyroid nodule.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side will be hoping to bounce back from a 2-1 home loss to Manchester United in the Champions League, their first competitive defeat in any competition since April.

Milan sit fourth in the Serie A table, 10 points behind front-running Juventus after 11 rounds of fixtures. 


Gattuso hopes for positive news on Higuain ahead of Juventus match

Gennaro Gattuso hopes Gonzalo Higuain will be cleared of lasting damage after a back problem curtailed his involvement in AC Milan’s last-gasp 1-0 away victory Udinese.

Alessio Romagnoli dispatched a dramatic 97th-minute winner at Dacia Arena in a repeat of the stoppage-time heroics that earned Milan a 2-1 win over Genoa in midweek.

The captain’s composed finish amid a frantic finale made it three wins from three since the derby heartbreak against Inter, which remains fresh in Gattuso’s mind ahead of next weekend’s meeting Juventus.

Higuain is in doubt to face his parent club after a collision with Rolando Mondragora forced him off just 35 minutes into the hard-earned triumph against Udinese.

“He felt a twinge in his back,” Gattuso said of the striker. “He had problems with it when he was younger and underwent surgery years ago.

“Hopefully it’s nothing serious.

“We faced a very physical team but we were much better in the second half and deserved the win today. I know what’s it like to lose in the last minute, it happened to us in the derby.

“We won without a lot of injured players. Now we have to try to regain our energy and get a few players back.”

Gattuso was dismissed from the touchline during the late confusion which erupted around Romagnoli’s winner.

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VAR was required to correct an erroneous offside flag which had threatened to spoil Milan’s moment, but the Rossoneri boss took no issue with the officiating.

“I didn’t say anything, I was expelled for leaving my technical area,” he said.

“It was the right decision.”


Man Utd meltdown shows why Sarri wanted lethal Higuain

Have you ever seen that scene at school where a big kid steals the smaller kid’s lunch money and then holds him at arm’s length? For 55 minutes, we saw the football equivalent as Chelsea were coasting at 1-0 up against Manchester United.

A woefully wayward header from Romelu Lukaku was the only shot Chelsea dealt with as they controlled the ball from minute one until Anthony Martial equalised against the run of play.

Chelsea should have won the game, but they squandered chances and the opportunity to really pile the misery on their under-fire former manager Jose Mourinho.

Antonio Rudiger’s first-half goal had been an emblem of the domination as Paul Pogba left the Germany international unchallenged to head home from an easy chance as his side were cruising. However, Martial scored a second on the break to put United ahead as a clash of styles played out at Stamford Bridge.

The game turned on quality finishing and final balls, showing that, although football is increasingly seeing sides look to possession to win major honours, you still need that killer instinct. 

Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard and Willian all failed to produce the moments in the final third. Morata, in particular, showed why Maurizio Sarri was interested in setting up a reunion with Gonzalo Higuain over the summer despite him sadly falling out of Chelsea’s transfer policy due to being over 30.

Ross Barkley eventually salvaged a point, but the Blues lost control of the game and Sarri wasn’t impressed with how his players took it upon themselves to start playing long balls.

“For 60 minutes we played our football. Then after 1-1, we didn’t play our football, only the long ball. We are not organised for the second ball,” Sarri said as he took what is an uncharacteristic step in criticising his players. “In this type of football, United is better than us.

Sarri quote

“I am really disappointed in this type of performance. The 2-2 in last minutes is ok, ok for the confidence of my players, but I have to look at something else. I have seen the match on the bench, and now want to study the second half of the match.

“We have stopped our football, and played another football, with the long ball. We are not organised like this. I don’t want the long ball, I don’t want the second ball. I want to play with short passes.”

Sarri is having some understandable teething problems as he transforms his team’s style of play. They looked to the long ball and Sarri has repeatedly urged his side to improve themselves defensively. 

The finishing and final ball deficiency is harder to improve, with Morata’s poor movement being a worry as he got the nod ahead of a goal shy Olivier Giroud.

If you stop the eight-goal Hazard, who can Chelsea look to? The answer on Saturday afternoon was that it is hard to find an answer in the team, especially in games at the highest level.

Pedro and Willian are capable of goals, but you can’t say with confidence that they can hit a tally to make the Blues title contenders in the face of great competition from the north of England.

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Chelsea still look technically superior to Manchester United and won the midfield battle, while also showing that they had superior defenders.

Liverpool and Manchester City have tons of threats all over their pitch and the same criticism of Sarri’s Napoli about a lack of killer instinct will likely undo them in the Premier League this season.

A top-four finish would satisfy many, but this is the hardest thing to overcome and the transfer chiefs may begin to think that they need to look for the next Higuain to replace Morata, with the clock ticking on his future. 


Suso hails ‘champion’ Higuain ahead of Milan derby

AC Milan star Suso has heaped praise on team-mate Gonzalo Higuain ahead of Sunday’s Milan derby against Inter.

Higuain has claimed that he was “kicked out” of Juventus this summer to make way for Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined the Turin giants from Real Madrid, but he has received a warm welcome from his new team-mate at San Siro, who has described him as “a champion”.

The Argentine striker has scored six times in seven outings for the Rossoneri since, including four in his last three Serie A outings.

Suso believes that he is simply hitting the standards he has long set for himself.

“He’s a champion,” Suso said per ESPN. “You’ve seen him play before, but until you’re on the pitch and on the same team together and get to see how he moves, what he does, what he likes, what he doesn’t like…”

And given that the pair share a care to complete the drive to training every day, he gets to hear a great deal from his club-mate, though perhaps a little more than he would like.

“He talks and talks and talks. At times I want to pull over on the motorway and let him out!” he joked.

The Spaniard, meanwhile, has five assists already this season and feels like he is hitting a level he has never before achieved in his career.

“Physically and mentally, I think it’s the best moment of my career,” he said before explaining the secret to his success.

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“It’s about timing. Choosing the right moment. Watching the body position of your opponent. Lionel Messi always does the same move and you know it’s coming but no one can stop him. To be clear, I’m not comparing myself to him. I think it’s just something that comes naturally to you.” 

Meanwhile, he joined a queue of critics to praise Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, a player that he says he “loves”.

“He’s one of the best players to watch,” he explained. “The way he runs with the ball and goes into one-v-ones. He’s one of the players I like most.”