Thursday January 19 2012
Milan youngsters delight Allegri

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri was happy with the impact made by teenagers Stephan El Shaarawy and Alexander Merkel in the Coppa Italia win against Novara.

The Rossoneri set up a quarter-final clash with Lazio last night after disposing of Novara at San Siro – even if they needed extra-time to do so.

“I’m happy for all of the team, but especially El Shaarawy who scored and Merkel who proved that he is an important player,” the tactician noted.

El Shaarawy joined the Rossoneri from Genoa in the summer, but he’s found first-team opportunities hard to come by.

Merkel, meanwhile, was recalled from Genoa only this week given the Rossoneri’s injury problems in midfield.

El Shaarawy gave Milan the lead in the 24th minute, before Ivan Radovanovic equalised late on. Alexandre Pato then netted a 100th minute winner before coming off with a fitness issue.

“We unfortunately conceded a goal a minute from the end from a free-kick that was avoidable,” Allegri continued.

“We suffered, but it was important to qualify. We did well to remain united and calm and almost made it 3-1 in the end.

“Pato? He felt a twinge in his thigh and I wanted to avoid any potential problems by bringing him off.”

Milan will host Lazio on January 26.

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