If you give one inch of space to Juventus, they will kill you. And that’s exactly what happened in the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan.
Despite the fact that Milan looked in control of the game for the initial 50 minutes, Juventus scored the first goal and they would never look back. A brace from Mehdi Benatia, a strike from Douglas Costa and an own goal from Nikola Kalinic lifted Juventus to the win. It was an impressive performance and while the final score was exaggerated, there is no question The Old Lady deserved the win.
AC Milan were slightly on top during the first half
The first half saw two attacking-minded sides, and overall things in the first half were quite even. Both teams looked to establish possession, but AC Milan got off to a better start. The first chance came before the 10th minute mark when a double one-two between Hakan Calhanoglu and Patrick Cutrone allowed the striker to test Gianluigi Buffon, but the veteran shot-stopper was stellar to deny the youngster. Cutrone looked quite active on the final third, but he ended fading away as the game went on.
Milan would continue to generate the clearer scoring opportunities and Buffon was tested for the second time in the 30th minute. This time it was Suso who tested the Italy international from long range, but Buffon once again came through to deny the attempt. Juventus started to woke up in the final 15 minutes though, and created three chances in a five-minute span but they failed to defeat Gianluigi Donnarumma. Paulo Dybala shot straight towards the goalkeeper (33′), Juan Cuadrado sent the ball over the bar (34′), and Mario Mandzukic nodded the ball home from close (37′) but couldn’t strike the ball cleanly.
Giacomo Bonaventura had the final chance in the first half for Milan, but his long-range shot went over the bar. The first half ended with a scoreless draw, and neither side managed to establish an advantage after the first 45 minutes.
Milan’s impressive start in the second half was annulled by Mehdi Benatia
Things would change after the half-time break, though. Bonaventura began to appear, and Milan had three clear chances in the first five minutes but they failed to convert them all. The pace of the game was extremely intense, and Milan seemed far more comfortable in that scenario. Of course, until Juventus adjusted and La Vecchia Signora capitalised on their first clear chance to find the back of the net thanks to Benatia.
The Morocco international met a lovely cross from Miralem Pjanic in the 56th and placed a header straight into the far post and out of Donnarumma’s reach to put Juventus in front. The goal sparked Juventus, and Dybala came close to add a second goal when his 30-feet long-range shot forced Donnarumma to make an impressive stretched save of an attempt that was going straight into the top corner. Milan, meanwhile, looked unable to react once Juventus secured possession.
The Old Lady exploded after scoring the first goal of the game
The second goal did not take too long to arrive. Juventus pushed the lines forward and Douglas Costa made it 2-0 in the 60th minute, although Donnarumma deserves blame for the goal. The former Bayern Munich winger placed an outside-the-box attempt, but the goalkeeper botched the save and the ball went it near the far post. The Italian goalkeeper should’ve done far more with that attempt, that’s a no brainer.
Gennaro Gattuso did not waste time and sent Kalinic to replace Patrick Cutrone, but the move did not pan out as expected. Instead, Juventus increased their tally when Benatia added a third goal in the 64th minute. Donnarumma once again left the ball rebound on an easy save, and Benatia placed the ball into the back of the net. It is worth noting that the Morocco international was on what appeared to be an offside position, but the referee did not call it. And while this goal did not played a big role in the outcome of the game, it once again highlighted the need of having the VAR in all leagues across Europe.
Juventus dominance allowed them to close things out with ease
AC Milan had one chance to score thanks to Kalinic, who crossed the ball into the box and his effort bounced off Blaise Matuidi, but the deflection hit the post when Buffon was absolutely beaten. The Croatian provided a spark on the attacking end, but he would find himself on the wrong end of another play that made it 4-0 for Juventus. A cross from Pjanic was deflected by Kalinic, and the Croatian forward placed the ball past Donnarumma. Out of nowhere, The Old Lady built a four-goal advantage with 15 minutes left to play. Safe to say, the game was already over at that point.
Milan did not give up, but there wasn’t a lot of time left to do anything. Manuel Locatelli and Fabio Borini came close to score, but Buffon responded every time he was needed. And just like that, things ended with a huge win for Juventus, as they claimed their fourth straight Coppa Italia in dominant fashion.
Milan did enough to complicate Juventus in the first half, but they couldn’t weather the storm. And The Old Lady took advantage of that on route to a huge win.
Juventus: Buffon (7); Cuadrado (6), Barzagli (6), Benatia (8), Asamoah (7); Khedira (6), Pjanic (7) (Marchisio (-), 87′), Matuidi (5); Dybala (8) (Higuain (-), 83′), Douglas Costa (7) (Bernardeschi (-), 73′); Mandzukic (6)
Subs Not Used: Szczesny (GK), Pinsoglio (GK), Rugani, Lichtsteiner, De Sciglio, Alex Sandro, Höwedes, Betancur, Sturaro
AC Milan: Donnarumma (4); Calabria (5), Bonucci (6), Romagnoli (5), Rodriguez (5); Kessie (4), Locatelli (5) (Montolivo (-), 80′), Bonaventura (7); Suso (5) (Borini (5), 68′), Cutrone (5) (Kalinic (4), 62′), Calhanoglu
Subs Not Used: Donnarumma (GK), Storari (GK), Abate, Antonelli, Zapata, Musacchio, Mauri, Biglia, Andre Silva
Goals: Benatia (1-0, 56′); Douglas Costa (2-0, 61′); Benatia (3-0, 64′); Kalinic (OG, 4-0, 76′)
Referee: Antonio Damato
Yellow Cards: Douglas Costa (JUV); Calabria (MIL)
Red Cards: None
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