A first-half double for Alexandre Pato was enough for Milan to hold on to progress to the semi-final of the Coppa Italia.Milan were forced to hang on to their first-half advantage given to them by an Alexandre Pato brace against Sampdoria, the visitors coming away with a 2-1 victory in the Luigi Ferraris.
Stefano Guberti gave la Samp a lifeline with a nice flick less than five minutes into the second period but a resilient Milan held strong against a much improved performance by the hosts but the single goal wasn't enough.
Milan set themselves quickly into the quarter-final, after a pre-match show of former Sampdoria forward Antonio Cassano taking to the field. Urby Emanuelson thought he had made a perfect start to his debut when he found Robinho, the Brazilian did put the ball in the net, only to be flagged offside.
The visitors then very nearly made the most of the space made available following a Sampdoria break, Robinho pulling wide to the left, he cut inside and slid a pass low across the box in search of Alexander Merkel but captain Angelo Palombo was back well to cover for the hosts.
Sampdoria threatened themselves on occasions, new signing from Palermo Massimo Maccarone being cut out inside the box.
However, in the 17th minute Milan made their most of a clear chance and it was Alexandre Pato with his 50th goal for the Rossoneri. A corner dropped in the middle to Thiago Silva, the center-back, playing in midfield, headed the ball into the path of Pato and the striker rifled it back across goal into the corner.
Just four minutes later Pato again showed Sampdoria why they shouldn't let him have a sight of goal. The Brazilian forward neatly flicked the ball through Pietro Accardi's legs and took his time before firing high into the net for his second.
Federico Macheda tried his hardest to get his second goal for the Blucerchiati, breaking his duck for the club last week against Udinese, the loan striker twice came close. Just after half-an-hour Macheda worked himself space at the edge of the area with a clever step-over but smacked a shot inches wide of the left post.
Even at 2-0 Milan looked the more hungry of the two sides and were almost rewarded by some slack defending. Sampdoria failed to clear a simple long ball, which Robinho advanced on to, playing a quick give and go with Pato, but Robinho was just closed down by Accardi.
The start of the second period was end to end action. Sampdoria, obviously given a stern talking to at the break, increased their energy levels nine-fold and were rewarded for it. The game seemed done and dusted and it would have been when Emanuelson found Merkel through on goal, but the youngster was caught in two minds and allowed Angelo Da Costa to smother. Milan were punished when Maccarone twisted and turned to find room to cross, when he did it picked out the run of Stefano Guberti perfectly at the near post and the midfielder's headed flick gave Flavio Roma no chance.
Sampdoria pressed hard in search of an equalizer, and it was twice Guberti who found himself in the right place for a shot but twice sent them high into the stand behind Milan's goal.
A mixture of cheers from visiting fans were drowned out by whistles filling the stadium as Antonio Cassano took to the field, with a little over ten minutes remaining.
The urgency was still there from Sampdoria but Milan had survived the worst as the fresh legs of substitutes for the Rossoneri ran down time. Cassano himself almost stealing the headlines with a solo effort in stoppage-time but sliced his shot wide of the right post.
The new arrivals filled in seamlessly for the Rossoneri in the middle flanking Thiago Silva and their performances and two moments from Pato were enough to seal a date with Palermo in the semi-finals.
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