AC Milan 0 Juventus 1 (aet): Morata steers Juve to historic Coppa win
Alvaro Morata scored a dramatic extra-time winner as Juventus made history with a 1-0 victory over AC Milan in Saturday’s Coppa Italia final.
There was no splitting the sides during regulation time at Stadio Olimpico, but substitute Morata broke Milan hearts in the 110th minute with the crucial strike.
Victory means Juve enter the record books as the first team to complete a Serie A and Coppa Italia double in back-to-back seasons.
It could so easily have been a different story for a Milan side that created the better chances during 90 minutes with Giacomo Bonaventura and Andrea Poli missing their best opportunities.
And that was ultimately punished as Morata swept home Juan Cuadrado’s cross deep into extra-time within two minutes of his introduction despite suspicions of offside to secure another major honour for ex-Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri.
Milan, who had late penalty calls turned down, now miss out on Europe for a third straight season, with Sassuolo qualifying for the Europa League.
And head coach Cristian Brocchi - who replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic until the end of the campaign in April - faces an uncertain future with rumours of a Chinese consortium taking over continuing to gather pace.
Brocchi, a victor with Milan the last time they won the Coppa in 2003, would have been happy with Milan’s aggressive start, but Juve were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Paul Pogba was clipped by Davide Calabria in the area.
Calabria was involved at the other end in the 13th minute when his teasing cross was prodded just wide of the right-hand post by Bonaventura.
Bonaventura again troubled the Juventus defence by cutting in from the left and angling a low strike that was deflected to force Neto into a smart reaction save with the ball squirming towards goal.
Allegri’s men were handed a huge reprieve when Juraj Kucka picked up a wayward pass in the middle and launched a lightning counter-attack that ended with Poli wastefully side-footing over from Keisuke Honda’s cut-back.
Milan were wayward again shortly after the restart as this time Kucka dragged wide when unmarked 20 yards from goal.
That failure to score was almost punished in the 69th minute when Pogba found space in the area and his shot was brilliantly saved low to the right by Gianluigi Donnarumma, who was wrong-footed by a big deflection.
Milan pushed in the closing stages, but a goal was not forthcoming and the match headed for extra-time.
Juve had the first opportunity of the additional time with Pogba bringing the best out of Donnarumma with a 25-yard drive, while Carlos Bacca saw an acrobatic effort go narrowly over the crossbar.
But with the clock winding down Juve grabbed a dramatic winner, Cuadrado centred from the right and Morata - who has been linked with a close-season exit - swept home first time.
Milan’s calls for offside went unheard and they were further aggrieved when Honda went down, only to see his penalty appeals against Giorgio Chiellini waved away.
Key Opta stats:
- Juventus have won 11 of their 16 Coppa Italia finals, while AC Milan have won only five out of 11 (last in 2003 against Roma).
- This is the first Coppa Italia final ending goalless after 90 minutes since May 2000 (Inter v Lazio 0-0).
- Juventus have won their last nine games against AC Milan in all competitions – their longest winning streak against the Rossoneri.
- Alvaro Morata took exactly two minutes to score the winner, with his third total touch in the game.