Tevez leads Juventus to 1-0 win at AC Milan
MILAN (AP) — Carlos Tevez’s fourth goal in three matches helped Juventus win 1-0 at AC Milan on Saturday in the first high-profile matchup of the Serie A.
In the 71st minute at the San Siro, Paul Pogba set up Tevez with only the goalkeeper to beat, and he expertly chipped it in over Christian Abbiati.
The victory gave new Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri a measure of revenge against the club that fired him in January.
“After 3 ½ years at Milan this couldn’t be a normal match. But it’s absolutely not revenge,” Allegri said. “Milan was an important step for me in my career. ... But now we’ve got to focus only on Juventus.”
Tevez also scored in a 2-0 win over Udinese last weekend then produced both goals in a 2-0 victory over Malmo in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Juventus was clearly the more dangerous side and controlled for long stretches, holding 60 percent of the possession, but it took a while for the Bianconeri — and Tevez — to find the target.
“We expected a match like this. They were coming off two victories,” Tevez said. “But we played a good match.”
Pogba’s assist was a work of art, as he faked twice before sending the ball past three defenders toward Tevez from the edge of the area.
“I often get angry with Pogba, because he’s a lad with huge potential, a lot of which he hasn’t shown yet,” Allegri said. “He’s very strong physically and technically. He can give a big hand to the squad.”
With three wins from three matches, Juventus moved three points clear of Milan and Roma, which hosts Cagliari on Sunday.
Earlier, Cesena and Empoli drew 2-2 in a matchup between two promoted clubs.
With former Juventus and Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi now coaching the Rossoneri, Milan entered with momentum following a wild 5-4 win over Parma last weekend. Inzaghi, however, believed they were still the underdog.
“After two matches we can’t think that we’re at Juve’s level. They’re one of the strongest squads in Europe — not just Italy,” Inzaghi said.
Juventus controlled early on but it was Milan that had the first real chance in the 27th when Keisuke Honda rose between two defenders for a header that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon did well to deflect with his right hand.
Juve midfielder Claudio Marchisio hit the post from beyond the area in the 38th after Nigel de Jong was late in defense.
Often-injured Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy exited with an apparent physical problem in the 66th, and five minutes later Tevez found the target.
Tevez celebrated by putting a pacifier in his mouth, to acknowledge his son.
“That should make him happy,” Tevez said.
Newly signed forward Fernando Torres made his Milan debut when he came on for Andrea Poli in the 76th, and picked up a yellow card in added time.
Milan forward Jeremy Menez protested for a penalty after going down inside the area in the final minutes, but referee Nicola Rizzoli, who officiated the World Cup final, signaled to play on.
In Cesena, the hosts went ahead with goals from Guido Marilungo and Gregoire Defrel in the 30th and 32nd, and Empoli responded with a penalty from Francesco Tavano in the 55th and an equalizer by Daniele Rugani in the 72nd.