Football returned to Italy after 3 months, where Juventus met AC Milan at Turin in the second leg of the semifinal of Coppa Italia. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, but still, the Italian Serie A Champions qualified for the finals by virtue of away goals following their 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final, played on February 13.

It was a rather uninventive and dull affair where teams lacked the intent and Juve looked a bit rusty.

Prior to kick-off, a minute’s silence was held for those who died from COVID-19, before a round of applause for the nation’s health workers. Milan had warmed up in ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirts, while Juve sported tops saying ‘No to Racism’.

Ante Rebic was sent off for kicking Juve’s Danilo on his chest, forcing the AC Milan to play for more than 70 minutes with 10-men and the Rossoneri greatly missed the services of veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was out with a calf injury.

Milan had only one real chance of upsetting the 2-time Champions League winners when Hakan Calhanoglu was close with a diving header early in the second half, otherwise, 7-time Champions League winners rarely threatened to snatch the goal that would have taken them into the final.

Meanwhile, the best player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo missed a golden opportunity to score from the penalty spot and make the return a memorable one.

Juve were awarded a penalty after referee Daniele Orsato reviewed video footage and deemed that Andrea Conti handled the ball in the area.

Ronaldo fired his penalty towards the bottom left-hand corner but it hit the post and bounced clear.

That miss did not prove costly for Juve.

It was the second penalty Ronaldo missed in two seasons at the club.

After the match, Juve coach Maurizio Sarri said, “I asked Ronaldo to take a more central role, he was pleased to try it out and he played the game he needed to at this moment”.

“He probably isn’t accustomed to missing a penalty, so hitting the inside of the post, it could go anywhere and he was unlucky”.

“I don’t think playing him a few meters more one way or another is going to make a huge difference to such a strong player. Everyone had a strong opening 30 minutes and then faded away.

“Clearly after three months, getting back to the touchline and seeing the teams out there is a good sensation, even if it’s not the same without the fans”.

“I was very surprised and satisfied with our opening 30 minutes, as we moved the ball so quickly and totally dominated the game, even before the red card”.

“After that, we slowly dropped our tempo, intensity, and mental determination, but that is a risk in an empty stadium. We had been doing so well, playing one and two-touch football, but then we slowed down and lost some sharpness, focused more on individual moves and taking two touches”.

Cristiano Ronaldo will return in the Serie A which would commence soon and it is expected, he would come out all guns blazing!

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