Morata strikes as Juve retain Cup, keep Milan out of Europe

Milan (AFP) – An extra-time winner from late substitute Alvaro Morata saw Juventus to their 11th Italian Cup with a 1-0 triumph over AC Milan on Saturday.

It means Juventus become the first Italian team to win successive league and Cup doubles, a year after ending a 20-year wait to achieve the feat.

AC Milan’s defeat means the seven-time European champions failed to qualify for Europe next season. Sixth place finishers Sassuolo will be handed a Europa League place.

Milan put everything into a match most expected to be one-sided in Juve’s favour but came away lamenting their failure to convert a host of chances.

Morata came off the bench to replace Hernanes in the second period of extra time, and only two minutes later the Spain international fired a superb first-time strike from Juan Cuadrado’s chipped pass past a well beaten Ganluigi Donnarumma to wrap up the double for Massimiliano Allegri’s men.

Morata, who according to reports is attracting interest from Premier League clubs, told Rai Sport: “I’m really happy for the Cup, it’s another one for Juve’s cabinet.

“Yesterday my friends asked me if I would play, and I said no. So they (the team) told me to go on and score. If only all finals were like this… it’s the beautiful part of football.

“My father’s in the stands and my mum’s watching from home.”

But on all-round performance, the champions were barely worthy winners after a comparatively stirring Milan performance given the disastrous season of Cristian Brocchi’s men.

Juve midfielder Paul Pogba had claims for a penalty waved away in the early stages when he was upended by Davide Calabria.

But from then on, it was mostly all Milan.

Calabria overcame his early jitters to whip in an inviting cross for Giacomo Bonaventura on 13 minutes but the midfielder lashed over from yards out.

It was the first of several misses in a one-sided opening half that saw Matteo De Sciglio, Andrea Poli and again Bonaventura come close to breaking the deadlock.

Milan continued apace after the break, Neto forced down low to stop De Sciglio’s low strike in the opening minutes, although a Juve counter had Donnarumma out his net in quick fashion to palm away Mario Lemina’s rasping cross away from the feet of Dybala as the Argentine teed up to strike.

Juve enjoyed a brief spell of promise, but when Pogba muscled his way into the area his deflected strike was met by the right hand of an alert Donnarumma at the near post.

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