What: Coppa Italia – Semi-final (first leg)
Who: AC Milan vs Juventus
When: Wednesday 8th February, 2012, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy

“Willingness on the Pitch”

As both Milan and Juventus drew in Serie A business at the weekend, leaving the status quo intact in Italy, the pair should come into this Coppa Italia semi-final somewhat even. Needless to say however, the outcome of the clash will influence the way both teams will carry on as the season draws to a close. For Milan, a growing injury list and a series of mediocre results must be brushed aside should they want to go far, both in the league and cup.

The Rossoneri could do nothing against Napoli in the freezing weather that has taken Europe by the throat recently, managing only a disappointing 0-0 draw after seeing star player Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off some 25 minutes from time.

And in such conditions, coach Massimiliano Allegri viewed the outcome as a point gained, rather than three lost.

“Today we won an important point and maybe we even deserved the win but it’s an important point for many reasons. We slipped up in front of goal but we conceded very few chances. Especially after Ibra’s sending off there’s a great willingness from everyone on the pitch”, explained the former Cagliari boss.

Lacking Luck

The same scenario was encountered by table-toppers Juventus, out to regain the glory lost after the Calciopoli scandal of 2006. The team were held by Siena, occupants of 17th spot in the standings, in a match that they really should have taken three points from, as it is details like these that win titles. Now, a win over Milan in the Coppa Italia would grant the Bianconeri leverage as both giants battle at the top of Serie A.

Juve could only rue their luck against Siena, missing out on an important chance to increase the gap between them and the Rossoneri to three points.
“It was a missed opportunity, we didn’t show our best play, but it’s not guaranteed that you always win by playing well. Sometimes you can also win from a one-off situation. And we had one right at the end of the game, but it wasn’t spotted.” declared custodian and former best keeper in the world Gianluigi Buffon. “The game didn’t go as we’d hoped, but we’re fine and there’s conviction. We don’t feel pressure, because we’ve managed to carve out an unexpected role as key contenders – and being top of the league can only be a boost.”

Recent form

AC Milan:
AC Milan 3-0 Cagliari (29/01; Serie A)
Lazio 2-0 AC Milan (01/02; Serie A)
AC Milan 0-0 Napoli (05/02; Serie A)

Juventus 3-0 Roma (24/01; Coppa Italia)
Juventus 2-1 Udinese (28/01; Serie A)
Juventus 0-0 Siena (05/02; Serie A)

Key absences

AC Milan: Christian Abbiati (doubt); Alessandro Nesta (doubt); Filippo Inzaghi (doubt); Sulley Muntari (international duty); Rodney Strasser; Alexander Merkel; Alexandre Pato; Kevin-Prince Boateng; Alberto Aquilani; Mario Yepes; Antonio Cassano; Mathieu Flamini; Gennaro Gattuso

Juventus: Martin Caceres (doubt)

Players to watch

AC Milan – Antonio Nocerino: Nocerino will face the team where he enjoyed his early years. An indispensable member of Allegri’s midfield, this one is a personal battle for him. Should Milan win it, then he will be one of the stars on show.

Juventus – Andrea Pirlo: The former Milan midfield legend returns to meet the side with which he really blossomed. Pirlo has been a revelation for Juve this season, and against the Rossoneri, can show his former employers just what they have been missing.

Match Prediction

This match could prove critical to both sides’ seasons, as they prepare to battle it out for the rest of the campaign in Serie A. At the moment, Juve’s luck seems to favour them ahead of Milan, and the Bianconeri could gain a foothold ahead of the second leg. AC Milan 1-2 Juventus.


Who comes out on top in AC Milan v Juventus? Make sure you visit OLBG for tips and to compare the current odds and betting markets available at all the important bookmakers.