After a much awaited two months football is finally back. Italy was one of the worst affected countries by this ongoing Pandemic but finally things are looking up. The lockdown restrictions in the country have been eased and it seems as though the worst is finally over, The comeback of football is a very significant step for the country as it is hopefully the first step in the return to normalcy. Before the Serie A begins on the 20th of this month we still have the Coppa Italia. Yesterday the Italian federation announce the removal of extra time to avoid any injuries due to the hectic schedule ahead so if the teams are level at the end of the regular time the games will go straight to penalties. AC Milan will be taking on Juventus on 12th June whereas Napoli will be hosting Inter Milan on the 13th and the final has been scheduled for the 17th
Napoli vs Inter Milan
The first leg at San Siro between these two teams proved to be very tightly contested with end to end action and both teams having several chances.
The Naples based team won the game with the help of a delicious left foot beauty by Fabian Ruiz from outside the box after a lovely one-two at the edge of the box with Giovanni Di Lorenzo. This gave Gattuso’s men the precious away goal and a slight advantage heading into the second leg at home.
Now Conte’s men have the uphill task of coming back from a goal down away from home at the glorious Stadio San Paolo.
Inter will certainly miss their backbone of defense in Diego Godin who’s out of the first team with muscular problems, on the other hand Napoli will be facing similar woes with the Greek defender Konstantinos Manolas missing out with an hamstring injury.
Although a goal down Inter will not have any problem while going forward with their reliable striking partnership which consists of Argentine teenage sensation Lautaro Martinez and Belgian Striker Romeu Lukaku. Conte has enough options to give The two strikers up top enough support with Denmark’s midfield maestro Christian Eriksen, Former Manchester United winger Alexis Sanchez , Right winger Antonio Candreva and Solid Defensive midfielder Marcelo Brozovich.
Milan do have a solid attack but they still have to face one of the best defenders of the game in Koulibaly. The reason why this game is too unpredictable to call is due to the threat that Napoli’s wingers present on the counter attack. Left winger and captain Lorenzo Insigne will lead the team alongside Dries Mertens, Mexican winger Hirving Lozano, the polish in form striker Milik and Jose Callejon.
Although the odds stacked against them I feel a comeback is possible and Inter will be able to progress to the finals. No matter the outcome we seem to have a great game of football in our hands.
Juventus vs AC Milan
The first leg at San Siro was a really even and interesting game. Both teams had a couple of chances but Ac Milan were the ones who broke the deadlock and took the lead at the 61st minute through a well placed Rebic volley following the cross from Castillejo. It seemed like Milan would take the win until the 91st minute when Ronaldo attempted a scissor kick which led to a hand ball by Calabria. The penalty was given by the officials after reviewing it the the video assistant referee. Ronaldo calmly placed the spot kick straight down the middle scoring yet another penalty. This gave Juventus the much needed away goal and rescued a draw for Sarri’s men.
The current Serie A Champions Juventus host the former Italian giants Ac Milan for the second leg of the semi finals of the Coppa Italia
While this trophy is just another notch under the belt for the Turin based side, It’s a must win game for the Milan side as their last trophy came 9 years ago and it would be a big boost for their ongoing rebuild. Things are not looking good for the Milan side as their star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic would not be able to take part after picking up an injury on his leg muscle. This was a big blow as Zlatan had sparked life into the team ever since his arrival during the winter transfer window. Besides the 6’4 hole in the attacking lineup French left back Theo Hernandez and right winger Castillejo will also be missing out due to suspensions they picked up in the previous outing. Milan coach Stephen Pioli will have to turn to Ante Rebic who was in a hot run scoring 7 goals in 9 games before the suspension of sports. Gianluigi Donnarumma who’s also hailed as the successor to Buffon’s throne will be on the spotlight tonight as the faces a star studded attack in the likes of Ronaldo, Dybala and Costa.
Juventus on the other hand will be without Higuain after he picked up an injury while training. Other than Higuain Juventus doesn’t not seem to be missing any players and will be playing their full squad.
Although everyone loves an upset I hardly see one taking place here tonight with Juventus already being the best team in the country and the Milan side being depleted with injuries and supensions it seems as though a Juventus win is on the cards.