Cristiano Ronaldo converts late penalty to deny Rossoneri
Ante Rebic opened the scoring for Milan but the 10-man hosts were denied a first-leg victory by Cristiano Ronaldo at San Siro.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a last-gasp penalty to earn Juventus a scarcely deserved 1-1 draw against 10-man Milan in Thursday's Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at San Siro.
It was the prolific Portugal forward's athletic effort that struck the arm of Davide Calabria to earn the spot-kick, awarded after a VAR check, and he duly rifled home in added time.
Prior to the late drama, Milan had made the breakthrough just after the hour. Having been thwarted on several occasions by veteran Gianluigi Buffon, Ante Rebic finally scored before Theo Hernandez was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The Rossoneri were made to rue their missed chances, however, and face a tricky task in Turin to reach the final at the expense of Juve, who have a huge table-topping clash with Inter and a Champions League last-16 first-leg tie in Lyon among their fixtures before the return clash.
With Juve sluggish from the off, Franck Kessie and Rebic tried their luck from range in a bright Milan opening, while Calabria forced a smart reflex save from Buffon.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was booked for a high arm on Matthijs de Ligt that rules him out of the second leg and Gianluigi Donnarumma made a great save from Juan Cuadrado down to his right.
Juve were under the cosh again early in the second half, though, and Buffon made himself big to deny Rebic, who had raced onto Ibrahimovic's flick-on.
Buffon also made fine stops to keep out Ibrahimovic's angled drive and Hernandez's well-struck long-range attempt, yet he was finally beaten in the 61st minute.
Samu Castillejo floated a cross to the back post and, though he did not make clean contact with the ball, Rebic's volley reached the bottom-left corner.
Cuadrado was denied a penalty despite copping an arm in the face from Rebic in the area, yet Milan were not so fortunate when Hernandez clattered Paulo Dybala to earn a second yellow.
Juve made the numerical advantage count in the closing stages when Calabria was harshly punished for handball from Ronaldo's acrobatic volley, the latter capitalising emphatically by smashing his penalty high into the net.
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It was far from a textbook performance from Juve, who were – not for the first time this season – laboured in attack. But ultimately Milan did not take their chances prior to the late contentious call and with Ibrahimovic and Hernandez – who would have been suspended regardless of his red – absent for the second leg, they face a tall order.
Buffon rolls back the years
Had it not been for the performance of veteran keeper Buffon, the game would have been beyond Juventus’ reach before Ronaldo's late intervention. The 42-year-old made a string of fine stops to keep the visitors in it.
Hernandez hinders Milan
Having already been booked for dissent in the first half, it was unwise of Hernandez to recklessly foul Dybala. It left Milan defending deep late in the game to undo most of the hosts' good work.
Juventus switch focus back to their bid for the Serie A title at home to Brescia on Sunday, with Milan hosting Torino a day later.
- Journalist at JJA Sport Studio: Football / Soccer
- Leader columnist department