Italian Recap: McKennie Instrumental in Wild Juve Win

Weston McKennie continued to prove himself as one of the most important pieces for Juventus setting up their winning goal as they pulled off a remarkable come-back against Roma.

Venezia FC 0 – 3 AC Milan

Gianluca Busio and Venezia were overwhelmed against AC Milan on Sunday, giving up three goals while never threatening their opposition to inch closer to the relegation places.

Tanner Tessmann was serving a suspension for an earlier red card, and was not part of the proceedings.

As would be expected, Milan were the dominant team, holding 62% of possession and outshooting their hosts by a margin of 18 to 9, with eight of their attempts on-target. Busio put in a solid effort in his 79 minutes on the field, completing 90% of his 30 passes, amongst 45 total ball contacts.

The visitors opened the scoring almost immediately, with Zlatan IIbrahimovic doing what he does best, streaking into the area and putting away a short cross from Rafael Leao for his eighth goal of the season in the second minute.

Venezia held on for the remainder of the half, however saw the game put out of reach in the 48th minute, with Theo Hernandez being sprung free on the left by Leao for a near-post blast that left Venezia keeper Sergio Romero no chance.

The hosts were put into an even more difficult position when Michael Svoboda was sent off in the 58th minute for a blatant handball on the line to block an attempt by Hernandez, with the Frenchman converting with a perfect attempt moments later for 3-0.

Despite having a man-advantage for the last half-hour, Milan were merciful with their hosts and settled for the three-goal victory in the end.

Despite the result extending a poor run of form that leaves them winless in their last seven league games, Venezia still have a four-point cushion above the relegation places. They must visit high-flying Atalanta on Wednesday in Coppa Italia action then face an important league contest against Empoli on Sunday.

AS Roma 3 – 4 Juventus

Weston McKennie was a key factor for Juventus on Sunday night, playing the full 90 minutes in their dramatic 4-3 victory over Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

The American was an all-around thorn in Roma’s side, not only being the key man on Juve’s winning goal, but also managing to get off a pair of shots amidst an 83% completion rate, while intercepting three passes to break up opposition attacks in the midfield.

Bryan Reynolds was in uniform for Roma, but was not called into action ahead of what looks to be a likely loan for the rest of the season.

The teams traded early goals, with Tammy Abraham heading in a corner from Jordan Veretout in the 11th minute for the Roma lead, then Paulo Dybala restoring parity seven minutes later with a fine shot from the top edge of the penalty area.

Roma took control early in the second half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan lucking out on a deflected shot from outside the area for 2-1 lead in the 48th minute, and Lorenzo Pellegrini striking a lovely free kick from 25 yards out just five minutes later for the 3-1 advantage.

Juventus looked down for the count, but stormed back, scoring three goals in a seven-minute space of time. In the 70th minute, Manuel Locatelli narrowed the gap to one with a fine header from the edge of the six-yard box, then Dejan Kulusevski equalized two minutes later, following a VAR review for a mistaken offside call, when he put away an initially blocked attempt from Alvaro Morata.

With the teams now on equal footing on the scoreboard, Juventus kept the momentum running, pulling ahead in the 77th minute. McKennie chipped the ball over the defense from the left side towards Mattia de Sciglio. While Roma defender Chris Smalling got his head on it for a slight deflection, the ball landed at de Sciglio’s foot for a clear strike that beat Roma keeper Rui Patricio at the left post for the winner.

Roma had one last chance to secure a share of the spoils, after Matthijs de Ligt was shown a second yellow in the 81st minute under VAR review for a handball in the area, but Pellegrini’s attempt was saved by Wojciech Szczesny to preserve the win.

The victory is a bittersweet one for Juventus, as they lost star attacker Federico Chiesa for the rest of the season with an ACL tear. Nevertheless, the three points leaves them within three points of the Champions League places. They are back in action on Wednesday when they face Inter Milan in the Italian Supercup.

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