Italian Midweek Recap: McKennie and Juve finally in the win column

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Weston McKennie and Juventus finally notched their first win of the season, while Gianluca Busio and Tanner Tessmann’s valiant effort against giants Milan wasn’t enough to stave off defeat.

AC Milan 2 – 0 Venezia FC

Gianluca Busio took up his usual spot starting in Venezia’s midfield while Tanner Tessmann was a late substitute for the Winged Lions in their two-goal loss at Milan on Wednesday.

As per usual, Busio was in the thick of the action for his team, completing 27 of his 31 passes despite the often stifling Milan defense forming an overwhelming wall for Venezia’s attack.

Even though Milan coach Stefano Pioli rotated several of his starters from last weekend’s impressive away draw at Juventus, the hosts were undoubtedly the dominant side, even if they were lacking the necessary bite in the final-third to break through.

They did have their chances in the first half, most notably when Pierre Kalulu’s 31st-minute attempt was barely wide of the mark. Venezia had a golden chance to take an improbable lead just before the halftime whistle as Francesco Forte extended a corner to Dor Peretz, who narrowly missed at the back post.

Despite holding onto the scoreless result for more than an hour, Venezia finally conceded in the 68th minute. A long forward pass to the left post from Ismaël Bennacer was centered by Theo Hernández with a single touch, where Brahim Diaz was in perfect position to strike it into the open net.

Tessmann entered the fray with approximately ten minutes left on the clock for central miefielder Antonio Junior Vacca, however saw his team’s deficit double just moments later.

This time, Tessmann and Mattia Caldara were unable to dispossess Milan substitute Alexis Saelemaekers, who slid a perfect pass into the left of the area for a wide-open Hernández to strike home for the final 2-0 win.

With the loss, Venezia drop back into the relegation places, where their three points from five games is enough to leave them at 18th place. They will return to action on Monday evening when they host ninth-place Torino.

Spezia Calcio 2 – 3 Juventus

Weston McKennie was in the Juventus starting lineup on Wednesday, as the team powered past relegation favorites la Spezia for their first win of the 2021-22 season.

With pressure mounting on head coach Massimiliano Allegri to halt the team’s historically disastrous start, the legendary coach made several changes to his starting eleven, most notably rotating Alvaro Morata and Manuel Locatelli out in favor of Moise Kean and McKennie.

The American played the full 90 minutes, and while he neither scored nor assisted on any of Juve’s three goals, he was in the thick of the action completing 84% of his 38 passes while troubling the defense with three shots.

The visitors toiled without reward for the opening minutes, but were rewarded for their dominance when Kean struck a well-place low shot to the left side in the 28th minute, giving them hope that their early-season woes were a thing of the past.

However, their hopes were quickly dashed, and it looked like a return to recent form when Emmanuel Gyasi bamboozled the defense for a spectacular solo blast from the left side to equalize five minutes later, followed by Janis Antiste creating magic on a fast counter four minutes after the break to pull la Spezia ahead.

Nevertheless, Juve kept up the pressure on their overmatched hosts, and were well-rewarded for their efforts.

Federico Chiesa created the equalizer in the 66th minute, robbing the ball from a helpless defender near the corner, storming into the area from the left and dropping it to Morata, who then quickly sprung Chiesa into the six-yard box for a sliding shot to pull even.

Matthijs de Ligt then won it for the guests with eight minutes on the clock, connecting from the right side when the la Spezia defense failed to clear a late corner kick.

The positive result still leaves the Old Lady in a disappointing 12th place on five points, however they will have a prime opportunity to improve their position when they take on 13th-place Sampdoria in Sunday afternoon’s lunchtime kickoff.


Bryan Reynolds was an unused substitute for Roma on Thursday evening as they eased past visiting Udinese by a 1-0 margin. They next face Lazio in the hotly-contested Derby della Capitale on Sunday evening.

Andrija Novakovich was an unused substitute for Frosinone on Monday night in their 2-2 draw against visiting Brescia. The forward will be looking for his first appearance of the season on Saturday afternoon when the team visits Reggina in Serie B action.

Giuseppe Barone was not in uniform on Tuesday for Ascoli’s 3-1 road win over Alessandria.


David Smith

I'm YA's resident doctor, but not the kind of doctor you would want giving you an examination anywhere outside of a lecture hall. I've been YA's feet-on-the-ground in Germany since 2008, have an affinity for overly verbose descriptions of irrelevant minutiae, keep an eye on YAs in most of the destinations on mainland Europe, and watch a whole lot of Serie A.

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