Juventus FC took a significant step towards the Coppa Italia final when they beat Milan AC 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final at the San Siro stadium, Alessandro del Piero netting a late winner for Marcello Lippi's side.
Both teams seemed subdued in the first half, perhaps mindful of the death of Brescia Calcio defender Vittorio Mero who was killed in a car accident on Wednesday afternoon. Brescia's semi-final against Parma AC was called off and a minute's silence was held before the start of the match at the San Siro.
But the game sparked into life just before half-time when Spanish forward Javi Moreno fired into the far corner from the edge of the penalty box after a long flick-on from José Mari. Juventus were level within three minutes of the restart when Alessandro Birindelli's free-kick took a wicked deflection off the Milan defensive wall. Del Piero made it 2-1 four minutes from time, volleying into the roof of the net after meeting a Cristian Zenoni cross at the far post.
Del Piero warning
After the victory, Del Piero warned his team-mates against believing a place in the final was already theirs. "We've won nothing yet,'' Del Piero told the club's official website. "There are still 90 minutes to play. Against great teams we can't take anything for granted.''
There was more good news for the Turin side as Uruguay defender Paolo Montero made his expected comeback from a knee injury which has kept him out for the last month. The second leg is on 6 February.
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