Juventus run riot in Rome to win fourth consecutive Italian Cup

Juventus trio Claudio Marchisio, Gonzalo Higuain (C) and double goalscorer Medhi Benatia (R) celebrate after winning the Italian Cup with a 4-0 win over AC Milan
AFP

Rome (AFP) – Juventus ran riot in Rome beating blundering AC Milan 4-0 on Wednesday at the Stadio Olimpico to win a fourth consecutive Italian Cup.

It was the 13th Cup win for Juventus, who are also poised to become the first Italian team to complete the double for four years in a row.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side are one point away from claiming a seventh consecutive Serie A title with two games to play and could seal it this weekend against Roma in the Stadio Olimpico.

“It’s not that Juve have to win, but I’m now unfortunately used to the idea that people take our victories for granted,” said Allegri, 50, after achieving his tenth coach as a coach between Juventus and former club AC Milan.

“Nothing is to be taken for granted.

“The lads had an extraordinary game and deserved this win. Now we have to ensure the Scudetto mathematically and enjoy this extraordinary season.”

The Turin giants put their foot on the gas after a balanced first half with Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan crumbling with two goalkeeping errors from young ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and a Nikola Kalinic own goal gifting the title to Juventns.

Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgates after 56 minutes for the first of a double on the night for the Moroccan with Douglas Costa also finding the net, before Kalinic’s blunder after 76 minutes.

– ‘It hurts’ –

AC Milan — sixth in Serie A — had been hoping for a win which would have guaranteed them a place in the Europa League group phase. 

“I think it hurts more that we took 40,000 fans here and gave them a result like this,” said coach Gennaro Gattuso, 40, who had been bidding to achieve his first coaching title after taking over at Milan last November. 

“Now we have two games against sides who are in better shape than us and must try to get into the Europa League with better performances than this.”

The match had been dubbed a duel between Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon who at 40 is set to retire and Donnarumma, 19, his touted replacement in the Italian national team.

But as Buffon kept his net clean Donnarumma finished the night in tears after a game to forget.

Buffon made an early save off Patrick Cutrone minutes into the game with Costa and Paulo Dybala both testing Donnarumma.

But there was controversy before the break when Hakan Calhanoglu was brought down only for the referee to blow the whistle for the break without letting Milan take the free kick. 

Gattuso ran onto the pitch to calm down his players.

But after the interval defender Benatia turned goal scorer heading in off a Miralem Pjanic corner on 56 minutes, for the first goal conceded by Milan in the Italian Cup this season.

Donnarumma then conceded two goals he should have saved — letting Costa slip through five minutes later and then failing to control a Mario Mandzukic header from a corner, allowing Benatia to tap in his second off the rebound.

Three goals down, Milan were in disarray with Kalinic’s turning into his own net off a Pjanic corner, ending Milan’s hopes of a first major trophy since Allegri led them to the Serie A title in 2011.

“Juve always do something special, it’s not the first time. We have a winning mentality,” said Benatia, who had come in for criticism after letting in Kalidou Koulibaly’s goal in a 1-0 defeat to Napoli two weeks ago.

“After my error … everyone said I was useless. I felt bad for a few days, but fortunately the lads completed the job and I thank them for being close to me.”

The team club be celebrating the Serie A title at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

“The Scudetto is the main target and I’ll be glad if we do it here, because I had an extraordinary campaign at Roma and it’s a special stadium for me,” added 31-year-old ex-Roma player Benatia.

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