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Juventus Reach Coppa Italia Final

Coppa Italia Trophy

Thirteen-time winners Juventus reached the Coppa Italia final on the away goals rule at AC Milan’s expense as Italy’s football season restarted.

After drawing 1-1 in Milan on 13 February, Juve could not find the net in a semi-final second leg played behind closed doors in Turin.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty awarded for handball before Milan’s Ante Rebic was sent off following his 16th-minute foul on Danilo.

Juventus, under former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, will meet either Inter Milan or Napoli in Wednesday’s final in Rome.

Napoli take a 1-0 lead into Saturday’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg.

After both teams emerged separately from the tunnel before the game, there was a minute’s silence in memory of those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic, followed by applause for medical workers.

With no fans present, at times the game sounded like a training session but the hosts were presented with a great chance to take the lead on the night when they were awarded a penalty after a video assistant referee (VAR) review for handball.

However, Ronaldo’s effort hit the post and moments later Rebic was dismissed for an ugly challenge on former Manchester City full-back Danilo.

Juventus did most of the pressing, Blaise Matuidi forcing a good save from Gianluigi Donnarumma, while Paulo Dybala also forced the keeper into a fine save towards the end.

Maurizio Sarri said was ‘surprised and satisfied with the opening 30 minutes’ from Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi-final, but they gradually ‘faded away’ in a 0-0 Coppa Italia draw with Milan.

“Clearly after three months, getting back to the touchline and seeing the teams out there is a good sensation, even if it’s not the same without the fans,” the coach told Rai Sport.

“I was very surprised and satisfied with our opening 30 minutes, as we moved the ball so quickly and totally dominated the game, even before the red card.

“After that, we slowly dropped our tempo, intensity and mental determination, but that is a risk in an empty stadium. We had been doing so well, playing one and two-touch football, but then we slowed down and lost some sharpness, focused more on individual moves and taking two touches.

“The positive is that we didn’t allow the opponents to play at all. It’s going to take a while to get the fitness and mentality back to 100 per cent. If you compare it to a pre-season game, it’d be early July, but this is worse than pre-season, because it was a much longer break.

“It’ll take some patience, but the first 30 minutes I saw today was an excellent sign.”

This was the first time that Douglas Costa, Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala started together in the Juventus jersey, but they dominated possession without breaking through.

“I asked Ronaldo to take a more central role, he was pleased to try it out and he played the game he needed to at this moment. He probably isn’t accustomed to missing a penalty, so hitting the inside of the post it could go anywhere and he was unlucky.

“I don’t think playing him a few metres more one way or another is going to make a huge difference to such a strong player. Everyone had a strong opening 30 minutes and then faded away.”