The Bianconeri have booked their place in the Coppa Italia final following a pulsating 2-2 draw with Milan at Juventus Stadium. Antonio Conte’s men put in a strong display and drew on all their character to fend off a Milan fightback before snatching a deserved equaliser in extra-time courtesy of Mirko Vucinic’s wonder strike. Conte elected to make several changes for the visit of the Rossoneri. Storari replaced Buffon in goal, Chiellini returned from injury to partner Bonucci in central defence, Giaccherini stepped in for Marchisio in midfield, while Del Piero spearheaded the three-pronged attack. It took just under fifteen minutes for either side to carve out the first significant goalscoring opportunity, with both chances falling to former Bianconeri striker Ibrahimovic.
The Swedish striker saw his free-kick hit the wall before he forced Storari to tip his right-footed shot wide of the post moments later. Yet Juventus weathered the storm and grabbed the lead in symbolic fashion. Pirlo’s lofted pass played in Lichtsteiner down the right-hand side and the full-back picked out Del Piero to perfection. The captain still had a lot to do when the ball arrived at his feet but managed to shrug off the attentions of Amelia and slot home for his second goal of the season. And with the stadium in full voice, the Bianconeri immediately sought to double their lead.
This time it was Giaccherini who scampered down the flank and fed Vucinic, who fired a low-right footed attempt into the grateful arms of Amelia. The Montenegrin was back in the thick of the action towards the end of the first-half when his cross was met by Vidal. The Chilean’s header glided into the path of Del Piero, with the striker a whisker away from turning the ball towards goal. Milan emerged for the restart minus 20-goal striker Ibrahimovic and launched an instant fightback. Mexes’ long ball forward picked out Mesbah’s arrival into the penalty area, leaving the defender to steer a close-range header past Storari. The equaliser brought increased belief to Allegri’s men and they looked to capitalise on this by putting the Bianconeri rearguard under heavy spells of pressure. But the hosts remained resolute and almost regained the lead when Vucinic thrashed into the side netting after skipping past Mexes in the penalty area.
A glimmer of brilliance from the feet of Maxi Lopez proved enough to bring the Rossoneri level with ten minutes to play. The striker received the ball with his back to goal and spun past Chiellini before lashing a fierce strike into the roof of the net. With extra-time looming, Juventus went all out for a priceless equaliser. Borriello, introduced earlier in place of Del Piero, had the opportunity to restore parity in a frantic finale but steered his shot straight at Amelia having sprung the offside trap to perfection. Vucinic also attempted to settle the tie in ninety minutes with two long-range efforts that flew over the crossbar.
Any signs of fatigue were well hidden as the Bianconeri flew out of the traps at the start of the first period of extra-time. Marchisio went close to following up Vucinic’s parried effort, before Giaccherini found Amelia quick off his line to prevent him from tapping home. This heavy spell of Juve domination, however, was merely paving the way for what was to come. There seemed to be little danger when Vucinic picked up the ball 30 yards from goal, but the striker had other ideas and took one touch before crashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner for his third goal in as many games. Orsato’s final whistle sparked scenes of celebration at Juventus Stadium as the Bianconeri confirmed a memorable day out in the capital.
GOALS: Del Piero 28, Mesbah 51, Maxi Lopez 81, Vucinic 96
JUVENTUS Storari; Lichtsteiner (Caceres 46), Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Giaccherini, Pirlo, Vidal; Pepe (Marchisio 63), Del Piero (Borriello 74), Vucinic Substitutes not used: Manninger, Padoin, Estigarribia, Quagliarella Manager: Conte
MILAN Amelia; Antonini, Mexes, Thiago Silva, Mesbah; Aquilani (Nocerino 68), Muntari, Seedorf; Emanuelson, Ibrahimovic (Maxi Lopez 46), El Shaarawy (Inzaghi 78) Substitutes not used: Abbiati, Bonera, Yepes, Gattuso Manager: Allegri
REFEREE: Orsato ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Ghiandai FOURTH OFFICIAL: Damato BOOKINGS: Muntari 16, Aquilani 35, Vucinic 38, Seedorf 56, Borriello 80, Thiago Silva 101, Vidal 112