A fantastic first-leg tie was a wonderful advert for Calcio, with both sides showing impressive endeavour and will to gain an advantage in Sicily
An exciting Coppa Italia semi-final tie saw Milan and Palermo thrash out an enthralling 2-2 draw at the San Siro. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened proceedings very early on for the hosts, before goals from Javier Pastore and Abel Hernandez put the visitors in the driving seat. However, a late Robinho strike ensured his side still had a reasonable chance of progression.
The match started in explosive fashion with a goal just 4 minutes in. Despite a high pressured start to the match with both teams setting their stall from kick off, Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured his three-month long goal drought came to an end. A Massimo Oddo cross from a deep position found the Swede, who beat his marker and scored through a tap-in at the far post.
However, just three minutes later, Palermo grabbed an equaliser through Pastore. Mauricio Pinilla once again showed his new-found importance to the team with a delightful lob pass, which found the on-rushing Argentine in the box, and he smashed home the finish for 1-1, leaving Marco Amelia with no chance.
Until the equaliser, it seemed the visitors may have been in for a difficult night after such early signs of Rossoneri domination, but as the half wore on it was Palermo who continued to grow in stature. A string of snapshots and promising pieces of attacking play filled the rest of the half up with the likes of Pastore, Ibrahimovic and Boateng having various attempts.
The last great chance of the half was for the hosts, after another great Oddo cross was met once again by Ibrahimovic, but Sirigu made an impressively instinctive save to keep out the fine attempt that came his way from the edge of the box.
Just seven minutes into the second-half saw another goal, with Hernandez getting on the score sheet yet again. Substitute Josip Ilicic sprayed the ball to Pastore, and the Argentine delicately played in Hernandez with a slide-rule pass. From a spectacular angle on the left, the Uruguayan hitman rifled the finish into the top right corner in style for 2-1.
Palermo started and almost ended a magnificent break from rare Pirlo dispossession on 72 minutes, after Ilicic picked out Hernandez with a fine ball, and his explosive first-time shot from the edge of the box was a whisker away.
Milan equalised shortly after for 2-2 through substitute Robinho on 76 minutes, after collecting the ball from a Dorin Goian sliding tackle on Ibrahimovic, and he smashed the ball into the back of the net. Fellow substitute Urby Emanuelson
A defensive Milan lapse allowed Pastore in one-on-one with Amelia, but his side-footed finish was weak and the ex-Genoa man parried the ball away. Moments later and Ibrahimovic again was involved in another goalscoring opportunity, after falling to the ground in the Palermo box.
Andrea Pirlo produced a fantastic, stinging low drive at Sirigu out of completely nothing, and the Italy number three again showed another reason why he is considered such a goalkeeping prospect after stopping the ball with his knees. Both sides played out a high-tempo match and the tie will resume at the Renzo Barbera, with a place in the final at stake.