A late blow that is a bitter pill to swallow. AC Milan looked to be heading to victory this evening but were denied late on. However, this result shouldn't make us forget about all the good things that our lads did throughout the match. It finished 1-1 in the first-leg semi-final clash between AC Milan and Juventus in the Coppa Italia this evening following two second-half goals: Rebić opened the scoring, Cristiano Ronaldo equalised from the penalty spot with 90 minutes on the clock. It was never going to be easy for the Rossoneri to lift themselves after the disappointment of the Derby match, but the team did react. Coach Pioli's men showed character and took the game to Juventus for large spells tonight. However, it wasn't enough for the win despite Rebić, who is becoming an increasingly important figure in the side, once again getting on the scoresheet. The Rossoneri played an open game this evening, putting together some excellent moves in a 4-4-1-1 formation that saw Çalhanoğlu and Ibrahimović take up the highest positions on the pitch. Now, it's time to put the Coppa Italia for one side for about a month. Indeed, the Diavolo will be back in Serie A action as early as Monday, with Torino set to visit San Siro on matchday 24.
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Coach Pioli stuck with the 4-4-1-1 formation he played in the Derby, with Calabria (who made his 100th Rossoneri appearance this evening) replacing the suspended Conti in the only change to the side. AC Milan began brightly, with Kessie's rasping drive flying inches wide after just two minutes. Shortly after, Buffon punched away another scorcher, this time from Rebić. The Rossoneri were playing with intensity and continued to push forward and create chances. In the 22nd minute, Buffon managed to stick up a hand and push the ball over the bar after Calabria had turned and let fly from the edge of the box. Juve's first chance didn't come until late in the half, with Donnarumma doing well to parry away Juan Cuadrado's powerful shot. It was much the same story in the second half: AC Milan were in control with Juve trying to gain a foothold in the game. In the 47th minute, Ibra picked out Rebić, whose near-post shot was kept out by the feet of Buffon. The Rossoneri were finally rewarded for their efforts as Ante Rebić volleyed home Castillejo's ball into the area after 62 minutes to make it 1-0. But just as the Diavolo were looking at their most comfortable, Theo Hernández received his second yellow card to give the Bianconeri hope. Juventus duly pushed forward and their pressure eventually led to the equaliser through Ronaldo, who scored from the penalty spot after Calabria had been penalised for handball in the box. It thus finished 1-1, meaning everything will be decided in the return leg on 4 March.
AC MILAN 1-1 JUVENTUS
AC MILAN (4-4-1-1): G. Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjær, Romagnoli, Hernández; Castillejo (80' Saelemaekers), Kessie, Bennacer, Rebić (73' Laxalt); Çalhanoğlu (87' Paquetá); Ibrahimović. Subs.: Begović, A. Donnarumma, Gabbia, Musacchio, Bonaventura, Brescianini, Leão, Maldini. Coach: Pioli.
JUVENTUS (4-3-3): Buffon; De Sciglio (69' Higuain), Bonucci, De Ligt, Alex Sandro; Ramsey (63' Bentancur), Pjanic, Matuidi (73' Rabiot); Cuadrado, Dybala, Ronaldo. Subs.: Szczęsny, Pinsoglio, Danilo, Wesley, Rugani, Coccolo, Olivieri. Coach: Sarri.
Referee: Paolo Valeri (Rome).
Goals: 62' Rebić (M), 90' pen. Ronaldo (J).
Booked: 29' Ibrahimović (M), 30' Ramsey (J), 43' Pioli (M), 58' Kessie (M), 69' Castillejo (M).
Sent off: 72' Hernández (M).
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