Fri, Feb 02, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Calhanoglu misses empty goal as Lazio, Milan draw

AFP, MILAN, Italy

Hakan Calhanoglu on Wednesday missed an open goal as SS Lazio held AC Milan 0-0 in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg at the San Siro, leaving all the play for the second leg in Rome on Feb. 28.

The winners will play either Juventus or Atalanta BC, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side winning 1-0 in Bergamo on Tuesday night to keep on track for a fourth straight Coppa Italia crown.

However, Gennaro Gattuso’s home side failed to get a fourth consecutive win on the trot against the battling Romans, who had fallen 2-1 to Milan in the San Siro on Sunday.

The best chance of the night came deep into the game when Calhanoglu fired over the bar in front of an empty goal after 75 minutes.

“It’s part of the game, but it’s important to be there and in the right place, at the end of the game he was in a terrible state and it seemed like the end of the world,” Gattuso said of the Turkish midfielder.

Ciro Immobile returned from injury, but also missed several chances to break the stalemate, notably a header cleared by Gianluigi Donnarumma after 62 minutes.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic also tested goalkeeper Donnarumma, before substitute Patrick Cutrone’s header was cleared by Thomas Strakosha, only for Calhanoglu to send the rebound over an open goal.

“We were lucky too, Donnarumma pulled off a miracle on Immobile — that’s football, mistakes are there,” Gattuso said. “It was important not to concede a goal, a goal that is worth double away from home, we were good and in the first half it went well.”

Meanwhile, Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi revealed that Cutrone had approached him after the game to apologize after scoring a controversial goal on Sunday with his arm.

Lazio have reached the final in three of the past five years, and were beaten in 2015 and last year by Juventus, who also beat Milan in 2016.

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