Wednesday April 24 2019
Coppa SF: Correa knocks Milan out

Lazio reach their third Coppa Italia Final in five years, as Joaquin Correa’s counter-attack beat Milan at San Siro and on aggregate.

They’ll face the winners of tomorrow night’s Atalanta-Fiorentina semi-final.

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The first leg ended 0-0, so away goals were an important element for the Biancocelesti to consider. Lucas Paqueta was still only fit for the bench, but Mattia Caldara had his first start since September 2018 after a move to the 3-4-3 formation. Stefan Radu was suspended, with Valon Berisha and Jordan Lukaku injured, but Joaquin Correa was chosen to support Ciro Immobile.

The tension was sky high going in, as when these sides met here 10 days ago in Serie A, Milan won 1-0 and a brawl broke out at the final whistle. It got even worse when Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie mockingly waved Francesco Acerbi’s jersey to the fans, which sparked controversy, an investigation for unsporting behaviour and heavy fines. It also gave some Lazio ultras a pretext to hurl racist abuse at the players, along with a group of around 50 waving a banner ‘honouring Benito Mussolini’ in the city streets today.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was sold by a Suso dummy and slipped on the turf, spraining his ankle and knee, so had to make way for Marco Parolo just 15 minutes in.

Davide Calabria went down under a nudge from Bastos and the referee waved away penalty appeals, while Immobile and Correa efforts were easy for Pepe Reina.

The first genuine save was from Thomas Strakosha on 28 minutes, at full stretch to fingertip the Calabria left-foot strike round the far post from the edge of the box.

However, Calabria had a knock to the knee and was also forced off the field, as Andrea Conti came on in his place.

Immobile nearly pounced on a poor Samu Castillejo back-pass, forcing Reina to rush out and clear, while Suso drilled wide from just outside the penalty area.

Lazio had two chances in first half stoppages, as Bastos drilled wide from close range after a free kick fell to the back post, then Correa went on a smart solo run only for Reina to come tearing off his line to parry.

The visitors remained more effective in the second half, as Reina flew to palm a Lucas Leiva scorcher round the upright from distance and on the resulting Luis Alberto corner, Bastos nodded wide from six yards.

Correa in particular sparked dangerous moves, as he dribbled into the area to clatter into Mateo Musacchio, then tried it again moments later, this time stinging Reina’s gloves.

Lazio did eventually take a deserved lead when Milan were punished on their own corner. Immobile went on the counter and set up Correa, who nutmegged the on-rushing Reina to score into an empty net.

As this was an away goal and the first leg ended 0-0 in Rome, Milan needed two goals to turn this around. It also meant extra time was no longer an option.

Krzysztof Piatek’s diving header was a long way wide on a free kick, while when substitute Patrick Cutrone pulled back from the by-line, there was nobody there to meet it. Luis Alberto had another strong counter-attack only to fire straight at Reina.

Cutrone did have the ball in the net with a precise header on Suso’s cross after 76 minutes, but had wandered offside.

Moments later, Felipe Caicedo was correctly booked for simulation, as he was going down long before approaching Reina. Immobile should’ve made it 2-0 only to blast over from 12 yards on the half-volley.

Milan 0-1 Lazio (0-1 agg)

Correa 58 (L)

Milan: Reina; Musacchio, Caldara (Cutrone 65), Romagnoli; Calabria (Conti 40), Kessie, Bakayoko, Laxalt; Suso, Piatek, Castillejo (Calhanoglu 57)

Lazio: Strakosha; Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Bastos; Romulo, Milinkovic-Savic (Parolo 15), Leiva, Luis Alberto (Badelj 84), Lulic; Correa (Caicedo 74), Immobile

Ref: Mazzoleni

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