Milan slump continues
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti refused to press the panic button after his team's miserable home league form continued Saturday as the European champions were held to a 0-0 draw at the San Siro by Juventus.
Milan failed to win for the seventh home Serie A match in a row, earning five draws, two defeats, five points and just a pitiful three goals in that period.
It is a situation that has become desperate, particularly with bitter city rivals and reigning champions Inter Milan romping clear, unbeaten at the top of the table.
If Inter win at Fiorentina on Sunday, the gap between the two Milan sides will be 16 points after just 13 games.
But Ancelotti preferred to praise his opponents rather than dwell on his own team's failings.
"They are aggressive, compact, the tightest defence in Italy, they don't concede much," he said of Juve on Sky Sport television. "We had our chances, we have nothing to reproach ourselves about."
For Juve, though, it was once again a non-conclusive result against a title rival, following previous draws against Fiorentina, Inter and Roma.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon defended his side's supposed lack of ambition in big matches.
"We have earnt respect and we've not played badly. We're a Juventus that takes risks to get big results, we've got the right attitude," he insisted. Juve coach Claudio Ranieri was satisfied with his charges.
"I am happy because we have showed character. We were playing against the European champions. Milan don't deserve to be where they are in the league (seventh). It's not easy to play at their ground," he said.
It wasn't easy for either side in a game of few opportunities.
The league's top goal-scorer David Trezeguet had the first clear chance of the match for the visitors on 12 minutes in a cagey first half but his fierce shot from an angle beat AC Milan's Brazilian goalkeeper Dida, only to crash against the upright and away to safety.
Things began to hot up after the break and Dida parried a long-range effort from Bosnian midfielder Hassan Salihamidzich three minutes after the interval with Italy full-back Massimo Oddo blocking Czech winger Pavel Nedved's follow-up.
Milan had the ball in the net on 50 minutes but Alberto Gilardino was offside when he mopped up the rebound from Brazilian playmaker Kaka's rasping effort.
Just passed the hour mark and the visitors should have gone in front but forwards Vincenzo Iaquinta, at the front post, and Trezeguet and the backstick, failed to gamble on full-back Christian Molinaro's wicked ball across the six-yard box.
Milan substitute Filippo Inzaghi sprung the Juve offside trap 20 minutes from time but he rushed his shot from the edge of the area and blasted the ball straight at Buffon when a little composure was needed to break the deadlock.
Milan did manage to pile on some late pressure with Inzaghi and Kaka both threatening, without either forcing a save out of Buffon.
Juve moved clear of Roma and Udinese in second place on 26 points, two behind Inter, while Milan moved up to seventh on 18 points, but both sides could drop places after Sunday's matches.
In the day's early game, Sampdoria jumped up to sixth after dominating lowly Reggina 3-0 at home.
Two goals from Claudio Bellucci and a third from Paolo Sammarco kept Sampdoria on the UEFA Cup qualification trail while sinking Reggina deeper into relegation trouble.
Reggina are fourth from bottom and if either of the bottom three - Empoli, Siena and Cagliari - take at least a point from their matches on Sunday, Reggina will find themselves in the drop zone.