Friday, March 23, 2018

Juventus 2 Torino 0: Costa and Mandzukic earn Coppa Italia derby win

SoccerNews in Serie A 3 Jan 2018


Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic were on target as Juventus moved into the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia with a 2-0 derby win at home to Torino on Wednesday.

Juventus are seeking to win the tournament for the fourth year in a row but they were made to battle against their local rivals to set up a last four meeting with Atalanta, who shocked Serie A leaders Napoli a day earlier.

Costa gave Juventus a deserved early lead with a powerful volleyed finish but Torino almost equalised within two minutes, M’Baye Niang’s shot after a rapid break hitting the post.

Mandzukic spurned two presentable chances to extend Juve’s lead early in the second half, before the Croatia striker settled the tie after 66 minutes with a cute chipped finish, the goal awarded after a video assistant referee (VAR) referral.

Despite the hosts progressing, it was another frustrating game for Paulo Dybala, who could not extend his run of scoring in all six of his home appearances in the Coppa Italia.

Torino had scored 11 goals in this season’s competition to be the tournament’s most prolific side, but they could not find a way through a Juve defence that has conceded one goal in 10 games in all competitions.

Miralem Pjanic fired an early effort at Vanja Milinkovic-Savic as Juventus started well in a frenetic derby atmosphere in Turin. 

The Bianconeri took the lead in the 15th minute, Costa lashing in on the volley after an attempted defensive clearance took a big deflection off Dybala. 

Dybala should have doubled Juve’s advantage moments later, but the Argentine hit a left-footed drive well over. 

In an end-to-end encounter Niang was then inches away from equalising, bursting into the box after a strong run in the left channel and seeing his rifled effort clip the outside of the far post. 

Milinkovic-Savic denied Dybala from close range after Costa’s terrific burst down the left wing set up the striker as Juve threatened to kill the tie, while the offside flag soon correctly denied the Brazilian a second.

Mandzukic – making a rare start up front with Gonzalo Higuain rested – missed two chances shortly after the restart, heading Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross over and then somehow missing Costa’s low centre when unmarked six yards from goal.

Blaise Matuidi went close after 58 minutes but the France international could only stab Dybala’s cross wide following excellent build-up play from Mandzukic, who then got his goal.

Another fortunate deflection fell kindly to Mandzukic and goalkeeper Milinkovic-Savic was left sprawling by a delightful lofted finish from the Croatian.

Torino felt the strike should have been disallowed for a tackle by Sami Khedira in the build-up, but following a VAR referral the goal was given and the visitors’ coach, Sinisa Mihajlovic, was dismissed for his angry protests.

Juve’s second goal ended any hopes of a Toro fightback, with Milinkovic-Savic saving from substitute Higuain with six minutes to play to keep the scoreline respectable.


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