A controversial late Cristiano Ronaldo penalty gave Juventus a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-final, as Ante Rebic scored and Theo Hernandez saw red.
The second leg of this Coppa Italia semi-final will be in Turin on March 4, so away goals could make a big difference. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samu Castillejo and Theo Hernandez will be suspended.
Both were coming off bad Serie A defeats, so Juve transformed with Juan Cuadrado in a more advanced role and Aaron Ramsey in midfield. As for the Rossoneri, Davide Calabria stepped in for suspended Andrea Conti, but Hakan Calhanoglu retained his new trequartista position. This was the first time Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo had faced off since 2015, PSG v Real Madrid.
It was a ferocious start from the hosts, Franck Kessie firing wide, Ante Rebic stinging Gigi Buffon’s gloves and an Ibrahimovic back-heel flick off target.
Buffon flew to fingertip a deflected Calabria strike out from under the crossbar, then smothered another Rebic effort, as while Juve kept a lot of possession, they failed to create real chances.
Ibrahimovic was booked for jumping with elbow raised on Matthijs de Ligt and will therefore be suspended for the second leg in Turin. He still had a yellow on his Coppa Italia record from the semi-final against Palermo in May 2011.
The first Juve chance came on 36 minutes, Gianluigi Donnarumma getting down to parry a Cuadrado angled drive, pushing it away from Paulo Dybala.
Theo Hernandez was booked too for barging over Dybala and will be suspended for the second leg. Kessie was fortunate to avoid punishment for jutting out an elbow on Cuadrado.
The second half started the same way as the first, with Milan getting the best chances. Rebic ran on to an Ibrahimovic flicked header and Buffon had to use his legs to block at the near post.
It started to open up with Blaise Matuidi’s attempt charged down from close range, Buffon palming an Ibrahimovic angled drive on to the side-netting and scrambling across to keep out a Theo Hernandez strike that took a huge deflection off Ramsey.
Moments later, Milan did break the deadlock. Samu Castillejo’s cross went over the head of Ibrahimovic, but Rebic was right behind him and almost used Mattia De Sciglio as a shield to volley in at the far post, squirming past Buffon.
Cuadrado had timid penalty appeals for a Rebic arm waved away, but Castillejo was then booked for punching the ball away in anger and he too will be suspended for the second leg.
Theo Hernandez certainly will be, because he received a second yellow card for a pointless clattering of Paulo Dybala and left Milan down to 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
It was difficult to tell, though, as Dybala only scuffed wide from a promising position. Juve were given a lifeline when Ronaldo’s acrobatic scissor-kick volley at the back post was charged down by Calabria’s arm. After viewing it on the VAR monitor, the referee opted for a penalty. It’s arguable Calabria didn’t see the shot, but at the same time his arm was a long way off his torso. Ronaldo blasted the spot-kick into the roof of the net to draw Juventus level.
Milan 1-1 Juventus
Rebic 61 (M), Ronaldo pen 90 (J)
Milan:G Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Castillejo (Saelemaekers 80), Calhanoglu (Paqueta 86), Rebic (Laxalt 74); Ibrahimovic
Juventus:Buffon; De Sciglio (Higuain 70), De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Ramsey (Bentancur 62), Pjanic, Matuidi (Rabiot 73); Cuadrado, Dybala, Ronaldo
Sent off:Theo Hernandez 71 (M)
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