Juventus were stretched towards the end but held on to beat 10-man AC Milan 2-1 and proceed to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. Two early goals from Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic had put the Bianconeri ahead, and they exacted their retribution for two previous losses this season by knocking out their one-time rivals.
After the game, manager Massimiliano Allegri tried to defend another limp second half performance.
“I wouldn’t say we suffered in the second half. We know from so many games this season that Milan never say die, no matter the result they always keep pushing and playing their football.
“We had several chances and allowed little at the back, then Dybala went off, we stopped having the extra man between the lines and that became a problem.
“At the end it was 10 against 11, it’s true, but with four strikers we were all on the same line and the extra man didn’t make a difference tactically.
“The extra man advantage was annulled and we annulled it. We misplaced too many passes because we went too deep.
“We won the Coppa Italia the last two years and hope to at least get to the Final again this time.”
Allegri opted to start with the 4-2-3-1 formation for the second time in two games, and it appeared to reap instant benefits with a pair of early goals again.
“It’s not an issue of the system so much as the attitude. Obviously the forwards have to help out in defence, but they’ve got good legs and quality up there, so it’s entirely possible.
“A lot depends on the characteristics of the game, of the players I want to use and those at my disposal. If everyone is prepared to work hard, more quality on the field can help us.
“At the end tonight we didn’t defend very well because we stopped keeping hold of the ball.
“Milan just created a few situations that could’ve been dangerous towards the end with their tackles. Bacca’s goal came out of nowhere and they didn’t really have any other chances apart from Gerard Deulofeu at the end with a good run.”