A first-half double for Alexandre Pato was enough for Milan to progress to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia.....Milan came away with a 2-1 victory at the Luigi Ferraris courtesy of a first half brace from Alexandre Pato. Stefano Guberti gave Samp a lifeline with a nice flick less than five minutes into the second period but a resilient Milan held strong to advance to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia.
New Milan signing Urby Emanuelson thought he had made a perfect start on his debut when he found Robinho, but the Brazilian's goal was chalked off for offside.
The visitors then very nearly made the most of the space made available following a Sampdoria break. Robinho pulled wide to the left, cut inside and slid a pass low across the box in search of Alexander Merkel but Angelo Palombo was back well to cover for the hosts.
In the 17th minute Milan made the 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 who 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.
Samp looked to cut the deficit in half as 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.
The hosts pressed hard in search of an equaliser, and it was twice Guberti who found himself in the right place for a shot but 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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