Friday, April 27, 2018

AC Milan 5 Alessandria 0 (6-0 agg): Mihajlovic´s men march on to Rome

SoccerNews in Serie A 1 Mar 2016


AC Milan ended third-tier Alessandria’s Coppa Italia dreams to reach the final after a 5-0 win on Tuesday, securing a 6-0 aggregate triumph.

Having won the first leg 1-0 courtesy of Mario Balotelli’s penalty, the in-form Serie A side completed the job at San Siro as Jeremy Menez and Alessio Romagnoli scored two apiece, with Balotelli adding late gloss.

While there was no dispute about Menez’s measured finish and tap-in, Romagnoli’s opening close-range goal – his first for the club – raised suspicions of offside and the linesman did initially appear to indicate as much, before changing his mind.

Alessandria provided a spirited second-half showing, but still succumbed to another Romagnoli goal and Balotelli’s cool finish, and will return to Lega Pro action sitting just three points off a play-off spot.

Milan have not won the Coppa Italia since 2003, but will seek to end that wait when they face either city rivals Inter or Juventus – who meet on Wednesday – in the Rome final in May.

The result extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 12 matches, with Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men having lost only once in 2016.

Keisuke Honda missed a glorious chance to put the hosts ahead inside seven minutes, the Japan international somehow side-footing over the empty net from eight yards after Juraj Kucka’s run and pass had taken goalkeeper Gianmarco Vannucchi out of the equation. 

Alessandria beat the likes of Palermo, Genoa and Spezia on their way to the last four and proved they would be no pushovers this time out either, with Christian Abbiati forced to deny Vedran Celjak from a tight angle. 

Angelo Gregucci’s men were soon breached, though, when Menez controlled Honda’s lofted pass with his chest and steered an effort into the bottom-left corner with 20 minutes gone.

The tie was effectively over just four minutes later as Romagnoli touched home from two yards out following a corner, with Alessandria’s calls for offside ultimately dismissed.

There was further punishment to come before the break, Menez – who only returned from a back injury last month – putting the finishing touch on a well-worked move.

Still the visitors refused to give up the fight in the second half, pressing forward and seeing Manuel Fischnaller head narrowly wide from a free-kick.

The underdogs came even closer to a consolation soon after, but despite Michele Marconi’s shot going through Abbiati’s legs, Mattia De Sciglio got back to clear off the line

And a fourth arrived at the other end 10 minutes from time when Romagnoli forced the ball over the line following a corner, while Balotelli raced away to slot in another at the death as Mihajlovic – four times a winner of the competition as a player – led his men to the final with considerable comfort.


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