27.01.2016 23:23 - in: Coppa Italia S

      Advantage Juve in Coppa Italia semi

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      The Bianconeri overcome Inter 3-0 on Wednesday night to establish an important lead in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final

      The Bianconeri took firm control of their Coppa Italia semi-final tie against Inter, as Alvaro Morata’s brace and Paulo Dybala’s late strike gave them a 3-0 lead in Wednesday night’s first leg at Juventus Stadium.

      Overall, Massimiliano Allegri’s men had the better of a typically feisty Derby d’Italia. Scoring opportunities originally came at a premium for both teams with Morata’s 36th minute opener from the penalty spot, awarded for Jeison Murillo’s tug on Juan Cuadrado, coming courtesy of Juve’s first shot on target.

      After notching his maiden strike since 4 October against Bologna, the Spanish forward netted another less than half an hour later before Dybala kept up his irresistible form in front of goal to sweep home a third, putting his side firmly in the driving seat for the second leg at the San Siro on 2 March.

      A bright start for Juventus immediately saw Morata running with purpose at Inter’s defence before laying off to Kwadwo Asamoah, whose effort flew just off target.

      On the quarter-hour mark, Paolo Tagliavento waved away Bianconeri claims that Cuadrado’s cross had brushed the arm of Gary Medel inside the penalty area.

      Far from letting their heads drop following the decision, the hosts continued to take the game to their opponents and so nearly found the breakthrough in the 20th minute, when Cuadrado skipped past a couple of markers and drilled whiskers wide of the post.

      Adem Ljajic was looking the liveliest of the visitors’ forward options and the Serb began the move which came on the back of the visitors’ first real foray forward, laying the ball off for Danilo D’Ambrosio to cross for Jonathan Biabiany, only for the Frenchman to glance wide of Neto’s goal.

      That would be as good as it got for Roberto Mancini’s men in the opening period, however, and, just four minutes later, the hosts were celebrating the opener.

      Morata’s tireless running throughout the half was causing the Nerazzurri rearguard regular problems, none more so when, on 36 minutes, the Spaniard combined brilliantly with Cuadrado in the box. The neat one-two was all too much for Murillo, whose foul on the Colombian led Tagliavento to point to the spot.

      Up stepped Morata, who lashed an unstoppable drive past Samir Handanovic to end his 20-game barren run in front of goal and give his team a deserved lead at the interval.

      The pattern of play in the second period would draw distinct parallels with the first for the paucity of efforts on target, that is until the 63rd minute, when Morata demonstrated his predatory instincts to double the hosts’ lead.

      After Mario Mandzukic had seen his initial shot blocked, the ball found itself at the feet of the 23-year-old, who spun on a sixpence before firing another bullet of a strike past a helpless Handanovic.

      Moments later though, having had very little to do in the previous two-thirds of the tie, Neto kept concentration levels high to pluck Murillo’s dangerous header out of the air.

      That would be the Inter man’s last action of the tie as the Nerazzurri defender was given his marching orders after bringing down Cuadrado once again, this time for a free-kick, which Pogba curled just around the post.

      Keen to cash in on their numerical advantage, the Bianconeri continued to surge forwards in search of another goal and in the 78th minute Morata ought to have been celebrating a hat-trick when he smashed over the bar with only the keeper to beat after collecting Pogba’s pinpoint cross from the right.

      Yet it would ultimately matter little, as Dybala buried a late third with an excellent first-time shot, having replaced Mandzukic up front just moments beforehand.

      Looking back at the match, Allegri will be delighted with his men’s cutting edge, scoring three of their four shots on target. Looking forwards, he’ll be telling his charges to remain just as compact and clinical in order to take full advantage of a significant lead heading into the return leg at the San Siro in early March.

      Neto; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Cuadrado (Padoin 90), Pogba, Marchisio, Asamoah,  Evra (Alex Sandro 83); Morata, Mandzukic (Dybala 77)
      Unused substitutes: Buffon, Rubinho, Barzagli, Rugani, Lichtsteiner, Hernanes
      Coach: Allegri

      Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, Nagatomo; Felipe Melo (Brozovic 64), Medel, Kondogbia; Biabiany (Icardi 77), Jovetic, Ljajic (Juan Jesus 70)
      Unused substitutes: Carrizzo, Berni, Ranocchia, Santon, Telles, Gnoukouri, Manaj, Montoya, Palacio
      Coach: Mancini

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