The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Coppa Italia: Ronaldo rescues 1-1 draw for Juventus at Milan in semifinal

Associated Press Thursday, 13 February 2020, 22:59 Last update: about 7 months ago

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late penalty Thursday to help Juventus salvage a 1-1 draw at 10-man AC Milan in the first leg of their Italian Cup semifinal.

Ronaldo’s stoppage-time penalty canceled out Ante Rebic’s 62nd-minute opener for Milan, which will be without Zlatan Ibrahimović for the return fixture because of a suspension.

Milan defender Theo Hernández was sent off in the 71st following a second yellow card.

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There was heightened excitement at San Siro as it was the first time Ibrahimović and Ronaldo had faced off against each other since 2015, when Paris Saint-Germain played Real Madrid.

Nearly 73,000 spectators were present — a record for an Italian Cup semifinal.

Ronaldo had barely a sight of goal at San Siro before his penalty. Ibrahimović went close on several occasions but was booked in the first half and will now miss the return match on March 4 as he had already received a yellow card in the competition — in the quarterfinal against Torino last month.

Both teams came into the match after disappointing results in Serie A. Juventus lost to Hellas Verona, allowing it to be caught at the top of the table by Inter Milan, which fought back from 2-0 down to beat Milan in the derby.

Milan was lively from the start and had two chances in the opening two minutes, with Franck Kessié firing narrowly wide moments after Ibrahimović had headed over the bar.

Juventus appeared sluggish and had to wait until the 36th minute for its first shot on target. Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma couldn’t keep hold of Juan Cuadrado’s shot but Kessié cleared the danger.

Ibrahimović again went close on the hour but Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon tipped the Swede’s effort round the post.

Milan broke the deadlock two minutes later. Samuel Castillejo chipped in a cross that was probably meant for Ibrahimović, but it went over him and Rebic scuffed it into the bottom left corner.

Milan went down to 10 men shortly after when Hernández was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Paulo Dybala.

And worse was to come as Ronaldo’s scissor-kick volley hit Calabria on the arm from point-blank range and the referee awarded a penalty after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Napoli plays Inter in the other semifinal. It won Wednesday’s first leg 1-0 at San Siro and hosts the return match on March 5.

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