Romagnoli imperious, scores penalty to send Milan to Coppa Italia final
AC Milan booked their place in the Coppa Italia final after defeating Lazio 5-4 on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday night. Alessio Romagnoli scored the winning spot kick as Milan extended their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions, with the Rossoneri now going on to face Juventus in the final in May.
It's been a difficult schedule for the Milan players, but they dug deep to battle it out over 120 minutes and kept their nerve in the end to prevail. Advancing to the final will be significant for the confidence and morale within the group to keep their impressive run going.
The visitors were very wasteful, as they had countless opportunities to avoid penalties. Fortunately for them, they weren't made to regret those missed chances, but they may not be so fortunate in big games still to come.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- The Gennaro Gattuso influence on this side can't be underplayed. The group are giving every ounce of effort for him and the team, working tirelessly to maintain their positive run. His changes made good tactical sense, and so he can't be faulted.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Donnarumma, 8 -- The young goalkeeper was crucial throughout as he made key saves, and he went on to emerge as a hero in the penalty shootout having saved two. Had a couple of scares in between, but was pivotal in Milan advancing.
DF Davide Calabria, 7 -- Defended resolutely throughout and is now showing real consistency and maturity to earn his praise. Missed a great opportunity to break the deadlock, but it's impressive to see him now start to get into such dangerous attacking positions too.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 7 -- Milan have now kept six consecutive clean sheets, and the captain has been a major reason for that. He continues to lead by example as he's a commanding figure at the back and continues to organise the backline.
DF Alessio Romagnoli, 8 -- The 23-year-old is in a different class currently, as he continues to establish himself as one of the best defenders in Europe. Didn't put a foot wrong defensively as he made countless key interceptions, and it had to be him to step up and score the winning penalty.
DF Ricardo Rodriguez, 6 -- Not so convincing from the Swiss international, as he had a lot of problems from a defensive perspective, while he continues to look a little lost with the ball at his feet. Needs to improve quickly as Andrea Conti's return could push Calabria over to the left in his place.
MF Franck Kessie, 7 -- Had a fascinating duel with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, but held his own in a physical battle and helped Milan gain a foothold in the game. Used his strength and mobility well and played sensibly after being booked.
MF Lucas Biglia, 7 -- Although he remains a little too sloppy in possession, he makes up for it with his unquestionable quality to sweep up in front of the defence and win the ball back. The experienced defensive midfielder is playing a crucial role for Milan.
MF Giacomo Bonaventura, 7 -- Worked hard throughout the game, although he was a little wasteful in counterattacks as he didn't always pick the right choice. Nevertheless, it's a little harsh to criticise him too much as he put in a real shift for the team and looked tired.
FW Suso, 6 -- Milan need their best players to step up in the big games, and the Spaniard wasn't anywhere near as influential as he can be. Similarly to Bonaventura, he worked hard without an end product, but he was a little less effective than his teammate.
FW Patrick Cutrone, 6 -- The youngster was always going to struggle against a back three, but he still showed different facets to his game. Dropped short to link up play and put himself about to at least offer a physical presence up front, but he didn't have the chance to be more decisive.
FW Hakan Calhanoglu, 7 -- Didn't stop running until the final minute, and so his fitness and desire deserve praise alone. Like with Suso and Bonaventura, he was wasteful on counterattacks as Milan could have opened up Lazio on several occasions, but he kept his composure with a brilliant penalty in the shootout too.
FW Nikola Kalinic, 4 -- The game was arguably made for him to use his pace and movement on the counter to make the difference. Instead, he did little off the ball and squandered a glorious opportunity. It was a really poor effort.
MF Riccardo Montolivo, 5 -- Used his experience well in extra time to help keep a sense of control over the game. Missed his penalty, but fortunate it wasn't costly.
FW Fabio Borini, 5 -- Offered a much-needed fresh pair of legs in the closing stages and produced an assured finish from the penalty spot under pressure.
Sumeet Paul covers AC Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @SP_Calcio.