23.12.2016 20:37 - in: Match report S

    Milan win Super Cup after spot-kicks

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    The Rossoneri claim the 2016 Super Cup after beating Juventus on penalties in Doha

    Milan won Friday’s Super Cup final after penalties were required to eventually separate the sides at the Al Sadd Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

    Juventus had taken the lead on the night through Giorgio Chiellini before Giacomo Bonaventura drew the Rossoneri level before the break. A goalless second-half and extra-time ensured the game would need to be settled by spot-kicks, and – following misses by Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala – Mario Pasalic netted the decisive penalty to help his side to the first trophy of the 2016/17 season.

    Coming into the match off the back of four straight wins in all competitions, Juve started tonight’s final the stronger side and forced opposition keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma into making four saves from Stefano Sturaro (x2), Mandzukic and Alex Sandro in the opening quarter-hour.

    The Bianconeri were therefore good value for their lead in the 18th minute when defender Chiellini showed all the hallmarks of a natural born striker, powering home on the volley from Miralem Pjanic’s corner.

    The chances would begin to dry up however from that point, as Milan gradually worked their way back into the game and duly equalised on 38 minutes when Bonaventura headed Suso’s pinpoint cross into the bottom corner.

    With the scorelines level at the interval, both sides came out full of purpose for the second period as they looked to take the advantage and very nearly did so: first Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli clattered a header against the crossbar before Sami Khedira forced Donnarumma into a smart stop with a piledriver from outside the area.

    Paulo Dybala’s introduction in the 67th minute would see Juve carve out more opportunities, La Joya playing in Higuain, whose cross for Mandzukic was intercepted by the Rossoneri backline.

    Then between the 77th and 80th minutes, Dybala almost handed the Bianconeri the lead with two fine left-footed efforts, the first skidding just inches past the post and the second, a trademark curled strike from distance, well saved by Donnarumma.

    For all of Juve’s late pressure, Milan may well have nicked the advantage moments afterwards when Carlos Bacca had the goal at his mercy, but Gianluigi Buffon, making his 600th appearance for the Old Lady, thwarted the Colombian striker with a brilliant reflex save.

    Bacca it was who could well have put the Rossoneri in front early into extra time, shooting tamely from a favourable position following good wing play from busy pair Suso and Bonaventura.

    Juve themselves went on the offensive shortly after the midway stage of the additional 30 minutes, Higuain warming Donnarumma’s gloves from an acute angle before Patrice Evra, in another attack, slid the ball into the back of the net only to be flagged for offside.

    Then with four minutes remaining, Dybala missed a golden opportunity to score a potential winner when he scooped over the bar from just a matter of yards out.

    With nothing separating the sides after 120 minutes, it was time for penalties and, although Claudio Marchisio, Higuain and Khedira all scored from the spot, while Buffon blocked Gianluca Lapadula, misses from Mandzukic and Dybala left Pasalic the opportunity to seal the spoils with Milan’s fifth penalty and ultimately the game’s final kick in Qatar.

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