Wednesday May 9 2018
Coppa: Force Four Juve flatten Milan

Juventus secured their fourth consecutive Coppa Italia – and domestic Double – as Milan fell apart in the second half for a 4-0 defeat.

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Giorgio Chiellini was injured and Gonzalo Higuain surprisingly dropped in favour of Mario Mandzukic. The Rossoneri were highly-motivated, as victory would also ensure their place in the Europa League group phase. Instead, this means fifth, sixth and seventh will go into the Europa League, but the side in seventh will need to start the preliminary rounds in July.

This was the fifth time these clubs have met in the Coppa Italia Final, with three Juve victories in 1942, 1990 and 2016, losing only in 1973. All five of the meetings between these sides in one-off Finals of all competition had gone to extra time, four of them to penalties.

Gigi Buffon was playing his first Coppa Italia Final in a Juve jersey and had to make a save after seven minutes on Patrick Cutrone after a splendid give-and-go with Hakan Calhanoglu.

Douglas Costa volleyed wide from the edge of the box, as did Paulo Dybala with an acrobatic attempt after his cross-shot tested Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Buffon had to readjust on a deflected Suso strike, while Juan Cuadrado fired over from a tricky angle and Mandzukic couldn’t get enough power on his header.

Jack Bonaventura blasted over from distance on the counter, but there was some controversy when Calhanoglu was brought down on the stroke of half-time, but the referee blew for the break without letting Milan take the free kick. The Rossoneri protested, but Gennaro Gattuso ran on to drag his players away from the official.

Donnarumma got down quickly to parry a Dybala left-foot effort from 10 yards, then a far more difficult fingertip save to turn La Joya’s impressive low volley round the far post. On the resulting corner, Medhi Benatia was allowed a looping header from eight yards into the far top corner. It was the first goal Milan had conceded in the Coppa Italia this season.

Donnarumma made another excellent save as Dybala dribbled away from defenders and unleashed a dipping effort from distance, turning it one-handed round the upright.

However, moments later Donnarumma allowed a powerful but fairly central Douglas Costa snapshot to squirm through his gloves and into the near bottom corner.

The teenage goalkeeper’s confidence was hit and it showed very badly a few minutes later when he horribly fumbled a Mandzukic header from a corner, allowing Benatia to tap in the rebound from four yards.

Blaise Matuidi nearly scored an own goal with a very clumsy interception, but it bounced off the upright with Buffon well beaten. Instead, Nikola Kalinic did put it into his own net with an entirely avoidable glancing header on a corner to surprise Donnarumma.

If some were calling for Buffon to make way for Donnarumma in the Italy jersey, they saw the 40-year-old perform a great double reaction save on Locatelli’s fierce attempt and the Fabio Borini follow-up from close range. It ensured Juve end this tournament without conceding a single goal.

Juventus 4-0 Milan

Benatia 56, 64 (J), Douglas Costa 61 (J), Kalinic og 76 (J)

Juventus: Buffon; Cuadrado, Benatia, Barzagli, Asamoah; Khedira, Pjanic (Marchisio 86), Matuidi; Douglas Costa (Bernardeschi 73), Mandzukic, Dybala (Higuain 83)

Milan: G Donnarumma; Calabria, Bonucci, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Locatelli (Montolivo 80), Bonaventura; Suso (Borini 68), Cutrone (Kalinic 62), Calhanoglu

Ref: Damato