Piatek scores twice as Milan beat Napoli to reach Coppa semis
Piatek, signed from Genoa last week as a replacement for Gonzalo Higuain, put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute before doubling the lead before the half-hour mark with a fine individual strike.Updated: Jan 30, 2019 10:10 IST
Krzysztof Piatek said it was “just the start” to his AC Milan career after scoring twice on his full debut as Gennaro Gattuso’s side beat Napoli 2-0 at the San Siro on Tuesday to reach the Coppa Italia semi-finals.
Piatek, signed from Genoa last week as a replacement for Gonzalo Higuain, put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute before doubling the lead before the half-hour mark with a fine individual strike.
It was the second time in four days that Milan had dealt a blow to Napoli’s hopes of winning a trophy this season, after a goalless draw on Saturday at the San Siro ultimately left Carlo Ancelotti’s men 11 points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.
“I expected a night like this. I said that I was ready and I got a brace, but this is just the start,” Piatek told Milan TV.
“Both goals were great, even if they were different. I felt good tonight and it was marvellous playing at the San Siro.” Five-time winners Milan will face either Inter Milan or Lazio, who play on Thursday, over two legs in the last four as they look to go one better than their 4-0 final defeat by Juventus last season.
Piatek did not waste much time in endearing himself to the Milan fans, latching onto a hopeful long ball forward from Diego Laxalt, before calmly taking a touch and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
The Polish international continued to torment the visiting defence and made it two in the 27th minute.
Piatek appeared to have few options when he collected the ball on the left-hand side of the area, but he cut inside two defenders before unleashing a powerful drive past Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret.
The 23-year-old has now scored an incredible eight goals in only three Coppa Italia games this season, having scored four for Genoa against Lecce in August and a double against Virtus Entella last month.
Lorenzo Insigne looked to be Napoli’s biggest danger, seeing a shot saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma, before firing over the crossbar.
Napoli started to put some pressure on the hosts’ goal in the second half, with Donnarumma saving from Arkadiusz Milik and Adam Ounas.
But Milan held on to reach the semis, with Donnarumma saving his best stop for last as he denied Ounas again.
On Wednesday, Juventus continue their bid for a fifth straight Coppa Italia at free-scoring Atalanta, while Fiorentina host Roma.
First Published: Jan 30, 2019 09:59 IST