AC Milan 3-1 Lazio: Robinho, Seedorf and substitute Ibrahimovic on target as Rossoneri set up Coppa Italia last-four meeting with Juventus
Home side bounce back from Djibril Cisse's opener to turn tie on its head and secure a clash with the Turin giants in the last semi-finals
By Matthew Woodward
AC Milan swept aside Lazio 3-1 in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia to secure a tie with Juventus in the last four, as Robinho, Clarence Seedorf and substitute Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in an overall dominant display from the Rossoneri.
Promising performances from Milan's youth players helped Massimiliano Allegri's men recover from going a goal down to Djibril Cisse's effort, and in an open encounter at San Siro, the hosts were the more clinical side.
Milan had lost once in their last 11 fixtures going into the match, which came to their rivals Inter earlier this month, a trend manager Allegri looked to continue as he aims to bring back the cup to San Siro for the first time since 2003.
Lazio coach Edy Reja looked to cause an upset as he called up former Panathinaikos frontman Djibril Cisse to start alongside Tommaso Rocchi, despite having not scored since his goal against Milan back in September. Miroslav Klose watched on from the bench.
Stephan El Shaarawy partnered Robinho up front as top-scorer Ibrahimovic was rested on the sidelines while Djamel Mesbah made his debut at left-back following his arrival from Lecce this week.
The Biancocelesti took an early lead thanks to simple build-up play between Cisse and Gonzalez, with the latter chipping in a well-crafted pass back into the box for the Frenchman to volley home past Amelia and end his barren goalscoring run.
However, Allegri’s men answered in orderly fashion, as the Rossoneri built up play smoothly in and out between the Lazio defenders before centre-back Daniele Bonera whipped in a cross for El Shaarawy to balloon up into the air for team-mate Robinho, who smashed a venomous right-footed shot into the top corner from five yards out.
Milan pushed for a second and it arrived just three minutes later, as El Shaarawy backheeled a slick delivery, clearing two Lazio players, into Seedorf’s path for the Dutchman to knock past Stankevicius and curl around Federico Marchetti for the lead.
Cisse provided the entertainment at the other end and smashed his side’s chance to equalise far from the intended target, urging boos from the visiting supporters.
Lazio’s Hernanes made a promising run from deep inside the Milan half in the dying minutes of the first half, skipping past Mark van Bommel only to draw a free kick and a yellow card from Daniele Bonera right on the edge of the box. His resulting effort tested keeper Amelia, who saved well.
Cristian Ledesma came on for Modibo Diakite after the break to give the Biancocelesti a wider dimension at the back, something which did the opposite of its intent as Milan took full advantage of a seemingly fragile midfield partnership.
Despite the slow pace of the second half, emotions ran high between the two sides with André Dias very lucky not to see red after punching Van Bommel in the face as Lazio defended yet another attack, leaving the Dutch veteran furious that such an attack went unseen.
However play continued, and Klose replaced Rocchi with 30 minutes remaining as manager Reja looked to equalise. The German international missed a clear-cut chance minutes after his arrival following a good run and cross by Lulic on the left flank.
Lazio’s hope didn’t last for long as the Milan substitutes combined to send the Rossoneri through into the semi-finals. Emanuelson danced through the heart of the visitor’s midfield, nut-megging one in the process, and slotting Ibrahimovic through acres of space.
The Swede defied the offside trap and rounded Marchetti to finalise what was a confident home display from Allegri’s men, who can look forward to a challenge against rivals Juventus in the semi-finals.
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