Milan gunning to topple unbeaten Juve in Copa Italia

March 20, 2012 | 09:17
AC Milan will need to become the first team to beat Juventus this season if they are to overcome their semi-final, first leg deficit and qualify for the Italian Cup final.

(From L) Juventus' Arturo Vidal, Mirko Vulcinic and Simone Pepe celebrate after scoring during a recent football match in Florence, on March 17. Juventus' next game is on Tuesday in Turin, their Coppa Italia 2nd leg semi-final against AC Milan. Juve lead 2-1 from first leg.

Juve have played 31 matches in the current campaign, winning 17 and drawing the other 14.

They may only be second in the league, behind Milan, but in three games against the rossoneri this term they have recorded two wins and a draw.

But if they want to progress, Milan are going to have to win in Turin and score at least two goals.

Juve won 2-1 at the San Siro in the first leg last month leaving champions Milan with an uphill battle to climb.

And that's not lost on coach Massimiliano Allegri, who wants his side to be more clinical, saying they made too many errors in Saturday's 2-0 win at Parma.

"We made too many mistakes in our choice of final pass, we were in too much of a hurry, we need to be more clinical," he said.

"It will be difficult against Juve on Tuesday, we have to score two goals."

It's an intriguing sideshow to the Serie A title race in which Milan have recently chased down and overhauled their rivals.

They now lead Juve by four points, in no small part due to their greater ability to put minnows to the sword.

Juve's problem in the league has been drawing exactly half of their 28 matches but such a result would be enough to put them in the Cup final for the first time since 2004.

Milan have not been to the final since the year before but they did win it in 2003 whereas Juve have not lifted the trophy since 1995.

Even so, Juve coach Antonio Cone is proud of their unbeaten run.

"We're doing something great and amazing," he said.

"I'm proud of the duel between ourselves and Milan, they're not slipping up and they have a four-point advantage.

"We want to improve, possibly quickly, and we want to keep dreaming and looking for the maximum. We'll see if that maximum is first or second but the important thing is to have no regrets."

The other semi-final, on Wednesday, is between Napoli and Siena with the Tuscans leading 2-1 from the first leg.

Siena are in the semi-finals for the first time in their history and looking to make new history by also reaching the final.

They seemed distracted in Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Novara while Napoli had to battle back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Udinese.

Napoli, who last won this competition during the Diego Maradona era, will still be favourites despite needing to overturn a first-leg deficit.

Fixtures:

Semi-final, second leg

Tuesday

Juventus v AC Milan -- Juventus lead 2-1 from first leg

Wednesday

Napoli v Siena -- Siena lead 2-1 from first leg

AFP

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