Cristiano Ronaldo scored a last-minute penalty to earn Juventus a 1-1 draw against 10-man Milan in Coppa Italia first-leg semi-final at San Siro. With this result, AC Milan puts an end to a streak of nine consecutive defeats against Juventus in all competitions.
It was another prolific bi-cycle kick attempt by Portugal captain that struck the arm of Davide Calabria to earn the penalty kick, through VAR intervention. CR7 took responsibility for the spot-kick and slotted home with a straight shot at the roof of the net. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored five goals in 10 meetings in all competitions against Milan.
Before the late drama, Milan had made the breakthrough just after the hour mark. Having been denied on several occasions by Gianluigi Buffon, Ante Rebic finally scored for the hosts. Samu Castillejo floated across to the back post and, though he did not make clean contact with the ball, Rebic’s volley still reached the bottom-left corner. Ante Rebic has been involved in six goals in the current year (five goals, one assist), more than any other player for the Rossoneri.
Theo Hernandez’s red for a second bookable offence, provide a numerical advantage to Juventus. Prior to Theo Hernandez, the last Milan player to be sent off in a Coppa Italia match was Manuel Locatelli back in January 2017, also against Juventus.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was booked for foul against Matthijs de Ligt that rules him out of the second leg, and Gianluigi Donnarumma made a great save from Juan Cuadrado down to his right.
Milan earlier missed or a few great chances and faced a tricky task in Turin to reach the final. With Juventus been sluggish initially, Franck Kessie and Rebic tried from a distance, while Calabria forced a smart save from Buffon. Buffon also made excellent stops to keep out Ibrahimovic’s angled shot and Hernandez’s well-struck long range attempt.
Cuadrado was denied a penalty when he was obstructed by Rebic in the area. Still, Milan were not so fortunate when Hernandez clattered Paulo Dybala to earn a second yellow.
Juve made the numerical advantage count in the closing stages when Calabria was harshly punished for handball from Ronaldo’s acrobatic volley, allowing the in-form 35-year-old to draw his team level with an emphatic finish from the spot.
It was far from an ideal performance which is expected from Juventus. But finally Milan could not take their chances and conceded one goal lead. With Ibrahimovic and Hernandez, both suspended in the second leg, they face a hard task in Coppa Italia.
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