Juventus Hold Inter To Book Spot In Coppa Italia Final

Juventus Hold Inter To Book Spot In Coppa Italia Final

TURIN, Italy: Juventus booked a place in the Coppa Italia final after holding visitors Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw in their semi-final, second leg on Tuesday, sealing a date with either Napoli or Atalanta with a 2-1 success on aggregate.

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez had chances to get Inter back in the tie in the first half, while Cristiano Ronaldo came closest to adding to Juve’s aggregate advantage in the opening period, having scored both of their goals in the first leg.

After the break, Ronaldo turned on the style and was only denied another goal in the tie by two fine saves from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Inter threw everything at Juve late on but veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon and his defence stood firm to secure a spot in the showpiece match against the winners of Wednesday’s semi, with Atalanta hosting Napoli after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

“We deserved it having taken on a great team like Inter,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said.

“In such important matches our team is unlikely to make mistakes, they all played a great match. We changed something on a tactical level and they did well, we had the clearest opportunities.”

With the away goals rule in place, Inter had to go for it and with Martinez and Lukaku in the starting lineup Antonio Conte’s side certainly had the firepower to trouble the hosts.

But 43-year-old Buffon, used only sparingly by Pirlo this season, was rarely tested, despite Christian Eriksen putting plenty of dangerous crosses into the box.

Inter committed more players forward as the match wore on, but the pressure was soaked up by the home defence as the visitors finished the match without scoring for the seventh successive trip to Juventus in all competitions.

“I think Inter tonight showed we have narrowed the gap to Juventus,” Conte said.

“The ambition must be high, then the reality is something else and reality says that we are out. We have been knocked out of the cup against the team that has been winning (Serie A titles) for nine years and I think we deserved more.”

The result booked the Turin side a 20th Coppa Italia final appearance on May 19, with a re-run of last season’s showpiece — when Napoli beat Juve on penalties — still possible.