Rome: Fino alla fine (Until the end) is the Juventus motto and it 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 was 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 goal-scorer Carlos Bacca had to be pulled away from the referee by coach 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.”
Juventus, which plays Porto in the second leg of its Champions League last-16 matchup on Tuesday, extended its Serie A record to 31 consecutive home wins. It moved 11 points clear of second-placed Roma and 13 ahead of Napoli. Roma visits Palermo on Sunday, shortly after Napoli hosts Crotone. “When decisions go against us no one says anything. When they’re in our favor bedlam happens,” coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Ours is a deserved victory.
Milan remained seventh, a point behind Inter Milan, which hosts fifth-placed Atalanta on Sunday. Juventus took the lead on the half hour through an unlikely goal-scorer. 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 managed to deflect 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 upped 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, unlike in the Italian Super Cup where he kept out the Argentine’s effort in the penalty shootout, won by Milan.