Wednesday, January 23, 2019 | ePaper

Juventus on brink of fourth straight double after Cup final romp

  • Print


Juventus player celebrate with the trophy after beating AC Milan 4-0 in the Italian Cup final soccer match, at the Rome Olympic stadium on Wednesday.

AFP, Rome :
Juventus ran riot to beat blundering AC Milan 4-0 on Wednesday in Rome's Stadio Olimpico and lift the Italian Cup for a fourth consecutive year.
Juve are now poised to become the first Italian team to complete the league and cup double four years in a row after their 13th Italian Cup triumph.
Massimiliano Allegri's side are one point away from claiming a seventh consecutive Serie A title with two games to play and could seal it this weekend against Roma in the same Stadio Olimpico stadium.
"It's not that Juve have to win, but I'm now unfortunately used to the idea that people take our victories for granted," said Allegri.
"Nothing is to be taken for granted.
"The lads had an extraordinary game and deserved this win. Now we have to ensure the Scudetto mathematically and enjoy this extraordinary season."
The Turin giants put their foot on the gas after a balanced first half with Gennaro Gattuso's Milan crumbling with two errors from young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and a Nikola Kalinic own goal gifting the cup to Juventus.
Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgates after 56 minutes for the first of a double on the night for the Moroccan with Douglas Costa also finding the net, before Kalinic's blunder after 76 minutes.
- 'It hurts' -
AC Milan -- sixth in Serie A -- had been hoping for a win which would have guaranteed them a place in the Europa League group phase.
"I think it hurts more that we took 40,000 fans here and gave them a result like this," said coach Gennaro Gattuso.
"Now we have two games against sides who are in better shape than us and must try to get into the Europa League with better performances than this."
The match had been dubbed a duel between Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon who at 40 is set to retire and Donnarumma, 19, his touted replacement in the Italian national team.
While Buffon kept a clean sheet Donnarumma finished the night in tears after a game to forget.
Buffon made an early save from Patrick Cutrone minutes into the game with Costa and Paulo Dybala both testing Donnarumma.
But there was controversy before the break when Hakan Calhanoglu was brought down only for the referee to blow the whistle for the break without letting Milan take the free-kick.
Gattuso ran onto the pitch to calm his players.
But after the interval defender Benatia turned goalscorer heading in from a 56th-minute Miralem Pjanic corner -- the first goal conceded by Milan in the Italian Cup this season.
Donnarumma then conceded two goals he should have saved -- letting Costa slip through five minutes later and then failing to control a Mario Mandzukic header from a corner, allowing Benatia to tap in his second off the rebound.
Three goals down, Milan were in disarray and when Kalinic turned into his own net off a Pjanic corner it ended Milan's hopes of a first major trophy since Allegri led them to the Serie A title in 2011.
"Juve always do something special, it's not the first time. We have a winning mentality," said Benatia, who had come in for criticism after letting in Kalidou Koulibaly's goal in a 1-0 defeat to Napoli two weeks ago.
"After my error ... everyone said I was useless. I felt bad for a few days, but fortunately the lads completed the job and I thank them for being close to me."
The team now could celebrate the Serie A title at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

More News For this Category

Cardiff striker Sala missing after suspected plane crash

Cardiff striker Sala missing after suspected plane crash

AFP, Nantes :Premier League club Cardiff City's record new signing, Argentina-born striker Emiliano Sala, was on board a light aircraft that disappeared over the English Channel on Monday night, police

Ronaldo misses penalty but Juventus beat Chievo 3-0

Ronaldo misses penalty but Juventus beat Chievo 3-0

AP, Milan :Cristiano Ronaldo had a penalty saved but it mattered little as Juventus beat last-placed Chievo Verona 3-0 to extend its advantage in Serie A on Monday.Douglas Costa and

Japan top Saudi Arabia, Australia win shootout

AP, Sharjah :Title contenders Japan and Australia scraped through tough last-16 games at the Asian Cup on Monday, joined by the host team United Arab Emirates.Japan advanced to the uarterfinals

Cristiano flashback as Iran book Asian Cup quarter-final spot

Cristiano flashback as Iran book Asian Cup quarter-final spot

Title-chasing Iran survived a first-minute penalty in a chaotic start to eventually dispatch Oman 2-0 and reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.Beanpole goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved from the spot

Dembele hurts leg in Barcelona victory

Ousmane Dembele injured his left leg during the second half of Barcelona's 3-1 win over Leganes in the Spanish league on Sunday.The 21-year-old France forward slipped while trying to dribble

Napoli beat Lazio to keep sight of Juventus

Napoli beat Lazio to keep sight of Juventus

Napoli beat 10-man Lazio 2-1 on Sunday to close the gap on leaders Juventus to six points and consolidate second place in Serie A.First-half goals from Jose Callejon and Arkadiusz

Tuchel draws best out of me at PSG:Neymar

Tuchel draws best out of me at PSG:Neymar

Neymar says his strong bond with Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel inspires the Brazilian forward to give his "life on the pitch", as the French giants gear up for a

Messi comes off bench to help Barca beat Leganes 3-1

Messi comes off bench to help Barca beat Leganes 3-1

AP, Spain :Lionel Messi had to cut short a rare rest break to help Barcelona beat Leganes 3-1 and protect its five-point lead of the Spanish league on Sunday.Messi came

Salah fires Liverpool seven points clear, Arsenal rock Chelsea

Salah fires Liverpool seven points clear, Arsenal rock Chelsea

Liverpool moved seven points clear at the top of the Premier League as Mohamed Salah's double inspired a dramatic 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace, while Arsenal ignited their top-four bid

Chelsea in talks with Callum Hudson-Odoi

Chelsea are in talks with teenage winger Callum Hudson-Odoi about his future. The 18-year-old, who has made 13 first-team appearances but is yet to start a Premier League game, has