Juve beat Milan to win Coppa Italia
Sunday May 22 2016
Alvaro Morata came off the bench to give Juventus their second consecutive Coppa Italia, beating an impressive Milan in extra time.
Not only does it rule the Rossoneri out of Europe, it sends Sassuolo into their first ever continental competition.
The Bianconeri had the chance to become the first side ever to retain the Double, winning the Scudetto and Coppa Italia for two years running. It meant far more to the Rossoneri, as a victory was their only hope of Europa League qualification, otherwise the spot would go to Sassuolo as sixth-place Serie A finishers.
Leonardo Bonucci sat out a ban with injured Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio and Martin Caceres, while Cristian Brocchi shelved the trequartista system for 4-3-3 with Ignazio Abate and Luca Antonelli sidelined.
This was the fourth Final between these sides with two Juve wins and one for Milan in 1973.
Davide Calabria ran a huge risk in the opening minutes, as he seemed to clip Paul Pogba’s standing foot as the Frenchman tried to turn, but penalty appeals were waved away.
Jack Bonaventura immediately countered to blast over the bar, then missed a sitter by prodding Calabria’s low cross wide from nine yards.
Milan kept the initiative and all the chances, as Mattia De Sciglio’s strike flashed just past the far top corner and Bonaventura almost caught Neto out at the near post, but the Brazilian managed to get a hand to it.
Andrea Poli fired wide with the inside of the right boot fairly undisturbed from the edge of the area, as the Rossoneri wasted too many chances. Juve were only given a sniff when 17-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma dribbled away from Mario Mandzukic in the box.
After the restart, Juraj Kucka and De Sciglio had promising efforts and Donnarumma got down to fingertip Mario Lemina’s low cross away from Mandzukic, who otherwise would’ve had an empty net to tap into.
A dangerous cross from the right was deflected off Honda and inches past Bacca at the far stick and Kucka wasted another promising counter. Patrice Evra was having real problems with Calabria, so Alex Sandro came on.
On 69 minutes Pogba’s deflected effort was about to squirm in at the base of the near post, but Donnarumma managed to get a hand to it and Riccardo Montolivo hoofed the loose ball clear from Mandzukic.
Juve started to get into the game more and Stephan Lichtsteiner’s header was straight at Donnarumma, while the goalkeeper fumbled a Mandzukic cross-shot and Neto blocked yet another De Sciglio strike.
Pogba’s snapshot was fierce, but central, and Brocchi made his first substitution after 84 minutes. M’Baye Niang made his comeback after fracturing his leg in a car accident on February 29.
In stoppages Juan Cuadrado got a decisive header to stop Calabria’s cross reaching Honda unmarked.
It ended 0-0 and therefore the Coppa Italia Final goes to extra time. Montolivo gave the ball away in midfield and Donnarumma flew to palm away the Pogba snapshot. Moments later Carlos Bacca’s overhead kick was inches past the bar on a poor Alex Sandro clearance.
Juventus were the team who finally broke the deadlock, as Morata came off the bench and scored with practically his first touch. He was left unmarked and sprung the offside trap for a low volley from 10 yards on Juan Cuadrado’s cross. It was an emotional celebration, as there’s a very good chance it was his final appearance in a Juve jersey before Real Madrid activate their buy-back clause.
A late free kick was not cleared properly and Jose Mauri smashed his finish just wide of the upright. Honda also had penalty appeals, but Chiellini seemed to do just enough to steer him off balance rather than actually foul him.
Juventus: Neto; Rugani, Barzagli, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Cuadrado 75), Lemina, Hernanes (Morata 108), Pogba, Evra (Alex Sandro 61); Mandzukic, Dybala
Milan: Donnarumma; Calabria, Zapata, Romagnoli, De Sciglio; Kucka, Montolivo (Jose Mauri 108), Poli (Niang 84); Honda, Bacca, Bonaventura
Scorers: Morata 110 (J)