Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty failure did not prove costly for Juventus as they reached the Coppa Italia final on away goals following a 0-0 draw with 10-man Milan in Italian football's return on Saturday morning (AEST).
The two teams drew 1-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at San Siro in February but had to wait four months for the return match at the Allianz Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic leading to the suspension of major sport across the globe in March.
Prior to kick-off a minute's silence was held for those who died from COVID-19, before a round of applause for the nation's health workers. Milan had warmed up in 'Black Lives Matter' shirts, while Juve sported tops saying 'No to Racism'.
Ronaldo scored from the spot to salvage a draw in the first leg but was unable to repeat the trick following a VAR review in the 16th minute. Ante Rebic was sent off for a wild lunge on Danilo just 17 seconds later but Juve failed to capitalise on their personnel advantage as they scraped a place in the showpiece.
The Bianconeri were awarded a penalty after referee Daniele Orsato reviewed video footage and deemed that Andrea Conti handled the ball in the area, but Ronaldo's drilled effort from the spot cannoned back off the left upright.
Gianluigi Donnarumma perhaps got the slightest of touches on it but as Milan attempted to clear their lines, Rebic caught Danilo in the chest with a dangerous high foot and was shown a straight red card.
Blaise Matuidi had a volley batted away by Donnarumma in the 31st minute and Ronaldo warmed the goalkeeper's gloves, while Milan failed to test Gianluigi Buffon during forays forward that were surprisingly frequent despite their numerical disadvantage.
Hakan Calhanoglu sent a free header wide within three minutes of the restart before Stefano Pioli finally sent on a striker to replace Rebic – Rafael Leao coming on for Giacomo Bonaventura.
Despite both teams being allowed up to five substitutions each they clearly suffered from fatigue in the second half and neither side could find a winner as the match meandered to a low-key stalemate.
What does it mean? Treble still on for Juve
Their club-record run of 10 straight home wins in the Coppa may have ended, but Juve are still fighting for silverware on three fronts.
Maurizio Sarri's men will have their work cut out to achieve it, though; they only hold a one-point advantage over Lazio with 12 Serie A games remaining and before the hiatus lost the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Lyon 1-0.
Before thinking about that they have a chance to wrap up a 14th Coppa success in their 19th appearance in the final, where Inter or Napoli will be their opponents.
Donnarumma does his bit
It was tough to tell definitively whether Donnarumma got a touch on Ronaldo's penalty, but he made good stops from Matuidi and Paulo Dybala – both of whom, along with team-mate Daniele Rugani, contracted COVID-19 during the stoppage – to help keep Milan's slim hopes alive. After keeping out Alex Sandro in second-half stoppage time, Donnarumma finished the game with seven saves.
Rebic loses his head
Milan were already at a disadvantage with Zlatan Ibrahimovic out due to suspension and losing Rebic, who had contributed 40 per cent of their goals in 2020 prior to kick-off, to a needless, reckless challenge made an already daunting task look near impossible.
Key Opta Facts
- Before Friday's match, the last Coppa Italia game played in June was in 2005: the final between Inter and Roma.
- Juventus are unbeaten in their last 12 games against Milan in all competitions (W9 D3): this is the longest streak for the Bianconeri in the history of this match.
- Prior to this game, Juventus scored in all their previous 44 home games.
- Milan have received a red card in four of their last six meetings against Juventus, including the last two.
Juve will face Napoli or Inter in the final on Wednesday, while Milan will turn their attention to resuming their Serie A campaign against Lecce on Monday week.