SPORT / SOCCER
Milan join leaders Inter
Juve get first win of season
Published: Sep 23, 2021 05:13 PM
AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez (right) competes for the ball on Wednesday in Milan, Italy. Photo: VCG

AC Milan defender Theo Hernandez (right) competes for the ball on Wednesday in Milan, Italy. Photo: VCG

AC Milan moved level with Serie A leaders Inter Milan on Wednesday thanks to a Theo Hernandez-inspired 2-0 win over Venezia, while Juventus won their first match of the season at the fifth attempt, 3-2 at Spezia.

France international Hernandez laid on Brahim Diaz's opener and scored the other at the San Siro to move second-placed Milan onto 13 points alongside city rivals Inter, in a win which maintains an unbeaten record so far this season for Stefano Pioli's side.

Diaz opened up a stubborn Venezia side when he forced home Hernandez's volleyed cross in the 67th minute in a match in which up to that point the Rossoneri had been restricted to a handful of chances. 

Hernandez then sealed the three points with eight minutes remaining when he collected the ball following superb play from fellow substitute Alexis Saelemaekers and lashed in his first goal of the campaign.

Milan are a point ahead of Napoli who travel to Sampdoria on Thursday looking to maintain their 100 percent record, while Atalanta and Roma lurk behind in fourth and fifth respectively.

"We knew that Venezia were a difficult team to play against... We need to win all of these sorts of matches and now we need to win on Saturday [at Spezia] as well," said Hernandez to DAZN. "Our goal needs to be to win the title, and that's what we need to aim for."

Way back in 13th are Juventus, the 36-time Italian champions some eight points behind their Milan rivals following a hard-fought win at Spezia which at one point was looking like an embarrassing defeat.

Emmanuel Gyasi and Janis Antiste put Spezia ahead shortly after the break with two deflected strikes following Moise Kean's 28th-minute opener, the Italian's first goal for Juventus since returning from Everton.

However substitute Federico Chiesa leveled midway through the second half with his first league goal of the season and in the 72nd minute Matthijs de Ligt struck the winner when the ball fell kindly to him from a Paulo Dybala corner.

It was a far from convincing performance though and Spezia could have leveled late on, with Wojciech Szczesny at his best to push away Giulio Maggiore's volley with five minutes remaining.

"It was a difficult match, in the first half we played well but they managed to fight back," said De Ligt, who has fallen down the pecking order and was only playing because Giorgio Chiellini wasn't fit.

Juve have now conceded at least one goal in 19 consecutive league matches, a trend that needs to change with Chelsea visiting Turin in a week's time.


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