Tuesday March 20 2012
Vucinic seals Juve-Milan thriller!

Milan won 2-1 after 90 minutes, but a magnificent Mirko Vucinic strike in extra time has sent Juventus into the Coppa Italia Final 4-3 on aggregate.

These two sides were battling for the Scudetto, but also went head-to-head in the Coppa Italia semi-final. Juve won the first leg 2-1 at San Siro, but missed Alessandro Matri, Andrea Barzagli and rested Gigi Buffon. Alessandro Del Piero made a rare start, as Andrea Pirlo faced his former teammates.

Milan’s injury list included Alessandro Nesta, Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ignazio Abate, Mark Van Bommel, Antonio Cassano and Mathieu Flamini. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was able to start despite suffering from flu symptoms.

An early Ibrahimovic free kick was charged down by the wall, but Sulley Muntari was booked for a lunging tackle on Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Ibra’s toe-poke angled drive was palmed just past El Shaarawy and the far post by Marco Storari at full stretch. From the corner, Thiago Silva nodded over.

A Clarence Seedorf screamer from distance swerved marginally wide of the top corner, but it was Juventus who took the lead.

Pirlo flicked a ball over Djamel Mesbah for Lichtsteiner, who rolled across for Del Piero from six yards to skip past Marco Amelia and deposit into an empty net.

Mirko Vucinic had another chance on the counter moments later, but the finish was too weak and straight at Amelia. Alberto Aquilani was booked for a very late tackle that propelled Vucinic into the advertising board. The Montenegrin was absolutely livid and, after carrying on his protests for several minutes, also received a yellow card.

Before half-time a Pirlo daisy-cutter was well held by Amelia. In first half stoppages Vucinic took advantage of a defensive error, but Vidal’s header whistled wide with Del Piero just unable to get the final touch at the back post.

Maxi Lopez replaced Ibrahimovic, who had been in doubt before kick-off. Milan immediately equalised, as a long pass from Philippe Mexes found Mesbah’s brilliant diving header from six yards to stun Storari, as he snuck in behind Simone Pepe.

Storari smothered a Maxi Lopez attempt, but Muntari went closer when failing to make strong enough contact with an Aquilani cross under pressure from Lichtsteiner. Moments later at the other end Del Piero skipped past Mexes and pulled back from the by-line for a crucial Thiago Silva intervention.

Vucinic went on a solo slalom only to hit the side-netting from a very tight angle. Another Muntari snapshot was caught with the same fate falling to a Claudio Marchisio strike, while El Shaarawy tried to battle his way through a crowd of Juve defenders but was unable to get his finish away.

Pippo Inzaghi came off the bench to replace El Shaarawy against his former club. Luca Antonini risked an own goal with a defensive volley.

Milan took the lead with a spectacular Maxi Lopez strike. The former Catania man gathered with his back to goal, leaned into Chiellini, spun round to ride a tackle and smashed the fiercre shot under the bar.

It was a goal that put everything level on aggregate, so would take the tie to extra time. Marco Borriello had a great chance to seal the tie for Juve against his former club when springing the offside trap in midfield, but went too wide and fired straight at Amelia.

Seedorf thumped wide from long range, while a Vidal glancing header was into Amelia’s arms. Milan almost won the tie at the 93rd minute with a remarkable run from Urby Emanuelson, but Inzaghi just couldn’t get the tap-in from a Maxi Lopez assist.

Juve did the same at the other end, as Vucinic’s deflected effort beat Amelia to skim the far post. From the corner, Vucinic hammered a powerful strike just over the bar, so it went to extra time.

Within 30 seconds of extra time, Borriello had stung Amelia’s palms and Marchisio fired the follow-up wide. Then Emanuele Giaccherini sprung the offside trap to go clear from a Vucinic through ball, but Amelia plucked the ball off his foot.

Martin Caceres had a strike deflected over from the edge of the box, but Vucinic did put Juventus back in front on aggregate with an absolute blockbuster! He gathered 30 metres from goal and smashed the right-foot screamer into the far top corner past Amelia’s flailing hand.

Juventus assistant manager Angelo Alessio was sent off for dissent, while Vidal was booked for bringing down Emanuelson on a powerful counter-attack. Amelia parried a Borriello shot on the turn at the base of the near stick, while Inzaghi’s first touch let him down on a ball into the box.

Juventus 2-2 Milan aet (4-3 agg)

Scorers: Del Piero 27 (J), Mesbah 51 (M), Maxi Lopez 81 (M), Vucinic 96 (J)

Juventus: Storari; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 90), Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Giaccherini, Pirlo, Vidal; Pepe (Marchisio 63), Del Piero (Borriello 73), Vucinic

Milan: Amelia; Antonini, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Aquilani (Nocerino 67), Seedorf, Muntari; Emanuelson; Ibrahimovic (Maxi Lopez 46), El Shaarawy (Inzaghi 77)

Ref: Orsato

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