With soccer finally back in Italy the first competition to start back up was the Coppa Italia featuring two semi finals games over the weekend, Juventus Vs. Ac Milan and Napoli Vs. Inter Milan.
The first match in 90 days was a weird feeling for all the players and an empty stadium did not help according to Juventus defender Lernardo Bonucci "The emotions are strange, after 90 days, we were playing again in an empty stadium and it was strange at the start."
The Juventus, Milan game ended in a 0-0 tie but saw Juventus advance on the away goal rule. Though the scoreline shows a boring game, it had its moments. Juventus came off the kick-off attacking and got a great chance when Milan defender Andrea Conti got a handball in the box after VAR confirmed, Juventus were awarded a penalty that Christiano Ronaldo went on to miss.
Only 22 seconds later Milan’s Ante Rebic was given a red card for cleating Juventus defender Danilo in the chest. Not much followed after the red card as both teams had little attacking opportunities but Milan was able to play very well given they were down a man. After the match Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri said the squad played well but he said "I got carried away, I fu---d up with the 3 subs at once (hahaha)" Sarri was referring to his odd decsion to sub on 3 guys at once with the new rule in place that you can now make 5 subs a game instead of 3.
Saturday's match Between Napoli and Inter Milan showed more sparks with a 1-1 finish which saw Napoli advance on an aggregate score of 2-1. Before the match both teams gathered around midfield and had a moment of silence for all the doctors and nurses who have died during this pandemic. But only 4 minutes into the match Inter’s Christian Eriksen whipped in a corner that went right through the goalie David Ospina’s legs and got Inter on the board quickly.
Ospina would later make up for his mistake with a series of great saves and a great pass to winger Lorenzo Insigne which led to the goal that made Dries Mertans Napoli’s all time leading scorer, passing Marek Hamsik. Inter tried to make a push late but with the game in Napoli’s back pocket, they just sat back and defended. With no fans allowed, the shouting of Napoli's Gennaro Gattuso and Inter's Antonio Conte, two famously passionate coaches, echoed around the stadium for the entire match.
Juventus will take one Napoli this wednesday in Rome for the Coppa Italia at 3pm. It is available to watch on ESPN+ and RAI Italia.