AC Milan’s mistakes hand Italian Cup title to Juventus
ROME (AP) AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma gifted two goals and Nikola Kalinic added an own-goal in a nightmare 4-0 defeat for the Rossoneri as Juventus claimed a record fourth straight Italian Cup title on Wednesday.
While the 19-year-old Donnarumma could not be blamed for Medhi Benatia’s opener in the final, his mistakes led to the ensuing goals from Douglas Costa and Benatia. Then Kalinic headed a corner into his own net.
”We have to accept it and realize we made our own errors,” Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said.
It was the first of two titles that Juventus is hoping to celebrate over the space of four days at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Bianconeri can clinch a record-extending seventh consecutive Serie A title with only a draw against Roma on Sunday.
”Now we have to ensure the Scudetto mathematically and enjoy this extraordinary season,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
Juventus has won a total of 13 Italian Cups, at least four more than any other team.
For Benatia, the brace served as redemption after he was blamed for a goal in a 1-0 loss to Serie A rival Napoli last month.
”After my error on the marking for Kalidou Koulibaly, everyone said I was useless,” Benatia said. ”I haven’t become fantastic now and I wasn’t useless then. … I gave my contribution, nothing more.”
Buffon, who is expected to retire at the end of the season, far outperformed Donnarumma, who is considered his protege.
Milan, meanwhile, missed out on a chance to justify its preseason spending spree and take home a trophy ahead of likely punishment from UEFA for financial fair play violations.
The last time Juventus had beaten Milan by at least a four-goal margin came more than 20 years ago – in a 6-1 away win in Serie A in 1997.
”The guys had an extraordinary game and deserved this win, taking nothing away from Milan, who had a good first half,” Allegri said. ”In games like this you need a little time to get into gear, but we found the passing lines, the spaces opened up and naturally the technique emerged.”
After a slow-paced first half, Juventus took control when Benatia headed in from a corner.
Donnarumma then had Costa’s shot on his fingers but the ball fell through his hands.
Three minutes later, Donnarumma was preparing to collect a header from Mario Mandzukic but it again slipped off his fingers and Benatia was waiting to pounce on it.
Milan came closest when Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi nearly scored an own-goal, hitting the post with a failed clearance.
Kalinic, who has not reached expectations at Milan, then added to the misfortune by finding his own net with his back to the goal by the near post as he attempted to defend a corner.
AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA
Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf