AC Milan and Juventus served up anything but a classic as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw under the floodlights of San Siro on Sunday night.
The theme of the game was a lack of quality all over the park as both sides got themselves into promising positions but lacked the killer pass at the right moment or the courage to shoot in the correct situations, with a goalless stalemate far from an unfair result.
Stefano Pioli made four changes to the starting line-up compared to the team that lost against Spezia on Monday night, with Davide Calabria and Alessio Romagnoli coming back into the defence, Sandro Tonali rejoining the double pivot and Junior Messias taking up a spot on the right flank.
Juventus were the team who applied the pressure inside the opening two minutes, with Morata seeing a near post effort deflect behind for a corner that Mike Maignan had to backpedal and palm away.
There was an early half shout for a penalty when Calabria latched onto a ball inside the Juve box and went down under a challenge from Alex Sandro and he seemed to have a real shout for a spot kick, yet the incident was never properly reviewed.
The Rossoneri’s early pressure continued as they had a couple of threatening moments inside the eighth minute. The first came from a corner that was taken short and a Tonali cross fizzed past the far post via a deflection, and then Leao fired over from a smart routine. Moments later, Locatelli was the first name into the book for a strong challenge on Tonali.
The Bianconeri had a big chance to open the scoring in what was a frantic start to the game as Cuadrado drifted inside and was allowed space to shoot from the edge of the box but the winger dragged his effort wide.
Milan fashioned themselves a big opening in the 20th minute through some neat combination play through the centre as Leao received a pass from Messias and fired at Szczesny, who saved well low down to his right.
Pioli was forced into his first change in the 28th minute as Ibrahimovic requested to come off with what looked like some discomfort in his thigh, and Olivier Giroud came on for him in a straight swap.
Calabria wasn’t far away from scoring yet another wonderstrike against Juve after his goal at San Siro against them last season as he let fly from about 20 yards out with his weaker left foot and the ball shaped just over the left upright.
The theme of the early exchanges in the second half was Milan squandering multiple chances to generate some pressure on the Juve box with Giroud guilty of not trapping the ball effectively and Brahim Diaz giving the ball away too.
The away side had a big chance to make it 1-0 five minutes after the break when De Sciglio picked out Morata which a peach of a delivery from the right wing, though the Spaniard diverted his header down and wide of the far post when he should have done better.
Szczesny was tested for the first time by Leao as the Portuguese winger managed to find some space to let fly from just outside the box and would have backed himself to produce a more dangerous shot than the one that rolled off his right foot.
Just before the hour mark Milan had another chance as a deep cross from Calabria to the far post found Giroud, who instead of trying to send a header on target tried to knock it back into a dangerous area off balance, but it was cleared.
Moments after a double change saw Ismael Bennacer and Alexis Saelemaekers come on for Brahim Diaz and Messias, Theo went on a driving run down the middle of the pitch and fired low on an angle from the edge of the box, but Szczesny did well to save and not spill a rebound.
After missing the earlier chance Giroud did go for goal when Saelemaekers hung up an excellent cross to the far post that he connected with cleanly but Szczesny read well.
Heading into the final quarter of an hour two more substitutions were made by Milan as Leao and Calabria came off, with Ante Rebic and Alessandro Florenzi the men to come on and replace them.
The game began to drift out towards the goalless draw that both sides probably feared from the first whistle, with Juventus having a half chance with five minutes remaining as Alex Sandro crossed to McKennie who had cut in from a wide position but his header was superbly blocked.