Mirko Vucinic scored a stunning
extra-time goal to help Juventus reach the Italian Cup final with
a 4-3 aggregate win over Serie A title rivals AC Milan in the
semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
The Montenegro striker hit an unstoppable right-foot drive
past Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia in the first half of extra-time
to ensure the game finished 2-2.
Juventus led the Serie A leaders 2-1 after the first leg in
February and increased their advantage when the 37-year-old
Alessandro Del Piero scored from close range in the first half.
The visitors, who had overtaken their opponents in Serie A
since the first leg took place, came back into the tie when left
back Djamel Mesbah equalised with a header early in the second
Vucinic missed a golden opportunity to put the match to bed
when he shot into the side netting before Milan's Argentine
striker Maxi Lopez turned on the edge of the area and blasted
the ball into the top corner from 20 metres to force extra time.
Juventus will play the winners of Wednesday's second
semi-final between Napoli and Siena.
Milan had looked the more threatening in a feisty and
up-tempo first half.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic forced a smart save from Juventus keeper
Marco Storari on 21 minutes after cutting into the area from
wide on the left before Clarence Seedorf sent a swerving shot
from distance just wide.
The home crowd reacted angrily as heavy challenges from
Sulley Muntari and Alberto Aquilani resulted in yellow rather
than red cards but their mood was lightened when the deadlock
was broken on 28 minutes.
Stephan Lichtsteiner marauded forward on the right before
crossing for Del Piero to flick the ball over the on-rushing
keeper and tuck it into the empty net from close range.
The lead lasted until five minutes into the second half when
Mesbah was allowed to ghost into the Juventus box unchecked and
head a long ball forward from Philippe Mexes into the net.
Vucinic ignored the pleas of better-placed team-mates before
missing the target and his profligacy was punished when Lopez, a
second-half substitute for Ibrahimovic, turned sharply on the
edge of the area and let fly with an unstoppable drive from 20
Juventus began extra time at a breakneck pace and should
have scored when Vucinic failed to round the Milan keeper when
clean through on goal.
He made amends, however, when he picked out the top corner
of the Milan net from 25 metres with a nonchalant effort made
with little backlift.
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