AC MILAN VS JUVENTUS: TEAM NEWS, TACTICS, LINEUPS, PREDICTION & STATS | COPPA ITALIA FINAL
Saturday May 21 2016
Courtesy of Sinisa Mihajlovic, the Serbian taskmaster who was sacked in April somewhat unceremoniously to the horror and dismay of many fans, Milan have found themselves in the final of the Coppa Italia this season for the first time since 2003.
Critics of Mihajlovic, however, would be quick to point out that luck was elemental in Milan’s advance to the late stages of the competition, but one can hardly deny the Serbian disciplinarian’s tenacity, zeal and enterprise. After managing to beat Sampdoria in the pre-quarterfinals, they were handed back to back easy draws in Carpi and Alessandria.
Juventus, on the other hand, had to edge Lazio and rivals Inter Milan enroute to the TIM Cup finals. Juventus, however, having won the title a record 10 times, including last year after beating Lazio in a thrilling encounter, have again made the Coppa Italia one of their priorities.
The final, however, means more to Milan and Christian Brocchi than for Juventus. The Bianconeri continue to ride their high tide of success and glory, while their lacklustre, once-great rivals continue to wallow in their own mediocrity. Juve did a double over Milan this season having beaten them home and away.
Allegri will be without the injured Sami Khedira. Claudio Marchisio is out on a long term injury as well. Sturaro is expected to start alongside Gabon’s Mario Lemina whose stay at Turin is expected to be made permanent over the summer. Bonucci is suspended and Rugani is expected to take his place.
Milan are missing the services of both their first choice fullbacks Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonelli. Yound Davide Calabria and Mattia De Sciglio will be expected to start in their places.
AC Milan – 4-3-1-2 – Donnarumma, Calabria, Zapata, Romagnoli, De Sciglio, Montolivo, Poli, Kucka, Honda, Bacca, Bonaventura
Juventus – 3-5-2 – Rugani, Barzagli,Chielini, Evra, Sturaro, Pogba, Sturaro, Pereyra, Cuadrado, Mandzukic, Dybala
Milan are playing their first Coppa Italia final in 13 years. Last time they won it was in 2003 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Juventus have won the highest number of Coppa Italias (10) followed by AS Roma (9). Milan have won only 5.
Juventus have lost 6 finals whereas Milan have only lost 3 finals – the last one was way back in 1998.
Milan are undefeated in this year’s Coppa Italia.
Milan’s highest goal scorer in Coppa Italia is Niang, who will be missing the game due to a long term injury.
Player to Watch out for
Gigi Donnarumma is an easy pick from a Milan side that is miles away from the quality Juventus will field on the pitch, despite key injuries in the midfield. The question is how long Donnarumma would be able to keep his side in the match. The young 17 year old prodigy will face Juventus for the 3rd time this season and he will be motivated after having lost the two previous outings.
Dybala broke a dogged Milan side led by Mihajlovic last year after he won the match with his wonderfully struck goal. There are very few equals to him at the moment in Serie A in terms of technical ability and flair. Last time he played against Milan, he gave Romagnoli a torrid time in defense. Having finished the season with 19 goals, he will be the man Milan would want to stop from scoring. His constant movement in an out of the box makes it very difficult for zonal markers to snuff out space for him to operate.
Blast from the Past
The last time these two sides squared off in a Coppa Italia final was way back in 1973 which ended in a 1-1 draw even after extra time. Defensive midfielder Romeo Benetti had cancelled out legendary Roberto Bettega’s opener for Juventus in the 50th minute of play. Milan went on to win the game 5-2 on penalties lifting Milan’s 3rd Coppa Italia trophy.
There is not much optimism in the Milan camp regarding the final. After a dismal season which concluded in a 3-1 loss to AS Roma, spirits are low. The new coach has a system that is vastly different than the previous one but is proving to be every bit as inadequate.