The Coppa Italia match for AC Milan will be remembered not for sparkling play, but instead for the debut of Lucas Paqueta. The Brazil international was immediately inserted into the starting lineup for the Rossoneri alongside Franck Kessie and Tiemoue Bakayoko, but in the end it was Patrick Cutrone who scored twice in extra time to send Milan into the next round of the Coppa Italia.
Milan appeared to still be on winter break during much of the match. While Milan had a few good chances in the opening few minutes, as the first half went on, Sampdoria started to turn up the pressure and came close on a number of different occasions.
Seriously, when was the last time we brought it out of our half?— Milan Club Philly (@MilanClubPhilly) January 12, 2019
The last 20 to 25 minutes of the first half were particularly poor for Milan, with Sampdoria controlling most of the play. The Blucerchiati were unlucky to not score at least one goal given all of the possession and chances, but Milan’s defense held firm, despite at least one nervy moment from Pepe Reina.
The way both teams are playing the game will be decided by penalties.— The AC Milan-Godfather (@ACMilanSydney) January 12, 2019
It’s like watching a Serie B match, nothing to excite the fans.
After an hour of play still 0-0#SampMilan
Unfortunately for both sets of fans, the match didn’t get much more exciting in the beginning of the second half. Sampdoria still consistently got chances, but were unable to connect on them, and while Milan looked better going forward, they still couldn’t connect on the final ball. A few yellow cards were shown for some tough tackles and some dodgy-looking dives as well.
Milan appeared to have broken the deadlock in the 75th minute, but Gonzalo Higuain was ruled offside before his shot went into the back of the net. Replays showed that the linesman was correct in ruling the play offside, much to the annoyance of Milan fans everywhere.
Sampdoria responded by coming very close to scoring twice in the next few minutes, as Fabio Quagliarella hit the side netting from a tight angle, followed by Ricardo Samponara dragging a shot seemingly inches wide of the net.
Reina was forced into another save after a good shot from Albin Ekdal, but once again the deadlock could not be broken, and the teams headed to extra time. Before the final whistle, Paqueta was subbed off for Fabio Borini after about 85 minutes. A pretty decent debut for Paqueta, but a better test will come once he’s acclimated to Serie A.
WATCH: Conti with a lovely cross, Cutrone great finish! pic.twitter.com/q63uPM0j5C— MilanGifs (@MilanGifs) January 12, 2019
The first extra time saw Patrick Cutrone come on for Samu Castillejo, and he showed everyone why perhaps he should always be in the starting XI by scoring a wonderful goal. Andrea Conti had also come into the match for Ignazio Abate, and he provided the assist for Cutrone to (finally) break the deadlock.
WATCH: Cutrone gets another one with a great finish. Calhanoglu with the cross. pic.twitter.com/ws3Y7w8ShI— MilanGifs (@MilanGifs) January 12, 2019
The second half of stoppage time also featured an amazing goal from Cutrone, as this time Hakan Calhanoglu provided the decisive ball that allowed Cutrone to get his second and put the match to bed for Milan.
Sampdoria also forced Reina into a few more good saves, and Diego Laxalt came on for Higuain late on, but Cutrone proved to be the difference, as he was able to score a couple remarkable goals from that settled the tie and send Milan into the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia.