Wednesday February 8 2012
Caceres is Juve's Coppa King!

Martin Caceres scored a magnificent brace to give Juventus the 2-1 away victory against Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

These two sides are battling for the Scudetto and also go head-to-head in the Coppa. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for three Serie A games, but that does not apply in other competitions, so he was able to start alongside Stephan El Shaarawy. Antonio Conte’s Juve were still unbeaten and gave Caceres and Simone Padoin their first starts since joining in January, while Andrea Pirlo returned to San Siro as an opponent after 10 years.

El Shaarawy ran on to a long cross-field Daniele Bonera pass and flashed the shot across the face of goal. Marcelo Estigarribia had a couple of chances, but twice fired off target, the second time just wide of the far post after shaking off Philippe Mexes.

Emanuele Giaccherini’s shot took a deflection off Mexes  that looped it up, but Marco Amelia did well to fingertip it out from under the crossbar.

Alessandro Del Piero took advantage of a Mark Van Bommel error only to be forced out for a corner.

After the restart, Juventus confirmed their strong performance by taking the lead. Amelia was at full stretch to palm away a Borriello angled drive, but could do nothing on the Caceres follow-up in front of an open goal. As this is the Coppa Italia and a two-legged affair, it could well count as an away goal.

Milan fought back with Storari palming away a fierce Ibrahimovic free kick, but Clarence Seedorf’s set piece was well off target. Del Piero smashed an angled drive across the face of goal to skim the far post, but Milan equalised moments later.

Massimo Ambrosini knocked down a Luca Ambrosini cross for El Shaarawy to side-foot home from six yards.

Del Piero dribbled into the box and hesitated, eventually stopped short by Mexes. Conte changed both strikers simultaneously, introducing Fabio Quagliarella and Mirko Vucinic.

Ibrahimovic had the ball in the back of the net, but the whistle had already gone for a handling offence as he controlled the deflected Van Bommel shot from the edge of the box. Ibra then pounced on an Andrea Barzagli error and fought his way past Leonardo Bonucci, but Giorgio Chiellini threw himself at the finish from close range.

Juve also threatened a second, as the Vucinic shot was only parried by an uncertain Amelia and Ambrosini dived in to prevent Quagliarella completing the chance. Vucinic also turned between a crowd of defenders, but couldn’t get the final touch.

Caceres made a spectacular return to the Juventus jersey, as he completed his brace with a wonderful strike. The Uruguayan pounced on a poor clearance and curled a magnificent finish into the top corner that left Amelia rooted to the spot.

El Shaarawy's attempt was deflected off target by teammate Robinho and after the final whistle there was a scuffle between players.

Milan 1-2 Juventus

Scorers: Caceres 52, 83 (J), El Shaarawy 62 (M)

Milan: Amelia; Bonera, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Antonini; Emanuelson (Robinho 61), Van Bommel (Maxi Lopez 86), Ambrosini; Seedorf; Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy

Juventus: Storari; Caceres, Bonucci, Barzagli; Chiellini, Giaccherini, Pirlo, Padoin (Marrone 69), Estigarribia; Del Piero (Quagliarella 67), Borriello (Vucinic 67)

Ref: Mazzoleni

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