Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured as AC Milan, Juventus play to scoreless draw

AC Milan and Juventus met at the San Siro on Sunday for a highly anticipated match in which both teams looked to put up an early score in a second-half push for a Champions League place.

It didn’t happen for either side. Instead, the most notable event of the match was the injury of an in-form and fan-favorite striker.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off in the 28th minute due to an ankle injury, leaving Olivier Giroud in front of the home team’s lines.

It’s unclear exactly what happened, and reports on social media seemed to suggest an Achilles tendon problem. That could be devastating for Milan considering the injury requires a longer-term recovery. Ibrahimovic has scored eight goals in 15 Serie A appearances this season, proving to be a revelation at 40 years of age. Based on coach Stefano Pioli’s post-match comments, the injury does not appear to be too serious, but its full extent is not yet fully known.

“I didn’t see what happened to Zlatan”, pioli said After the match. “He felt pain in his tendon and blamed it on the pitch because it was so hard, I hope he recovers in the next few days.”

The early injury was a harbinger of things to come in the game, as neither team could do anything offensively. Giroud, Ibrahimovic’s replacement, managed three shots, with two on target, but otherwise Milan had little to offer. Juventus were no better, without a single shot on goal in the entire match. The two teams combined to produce just 0.98 total expected goals for the match.

AC Milan sit third in the Serie A table with 49 points, seven ahead of fifth-placed Juventus, but injuries are starting to pile up. The club lost Simon Kjaer to an ACL injury, while the in-form Fikayo Tomori went down with a knee problem. Add in the loss of Franck Kessie to AFCON service, and AC Milan have seen some key players become unavailable.

Juventus were equally disappointing, with few attacking options. Paulo Dybala continues to show glimpses of his brilliance but also seems broken at times, while Álvaro Morata was totally ineffective and retired with 15 minutes remaining. Mattias de Sciglio and Juan Cuadrado connected well down the right wing, but had little help. American midfielder Weston McKennie, in his last match before being linked with the USMNT for three key qualifiers, was less involved than Juve would like, with just 34 passes completed for the match despite a relatively even possession split. .