OUR man in Italy, Marco Di Cosmo (@scioltz) has now bagged 10 winners from his last 12 selections. Here's his take on Friday's Super Cup clash between Juventus and AC Milan in Doha.
Juventus v AC Milan | Friday 16:30 | Sky Sports 4
I expect a very tight game between Juventus and AC Milan for the Italian Super Cup final in Doha on Friday.
Juventus come to this match in a stronger position, aiming for their sixth Serie A title having outperformed all their opponents.
Roma were beaten last week in Turin to give Juve a four-point advantage and with Crotone still to come, the Old Lady should be capable of cementing their place at the top of tree.
AC Milan have slowed down a bit after their tremendous start, but that was something predictable as we said many times that they were really over-performing.
This squad has nowhere near the talent of the top three clubs in Serie A but it is fair to say that coach Vincenzo Montella has found a fine balance that keep the Rossoneri among the best Italian teams.
History to repeat
On Friday we'll see the repetition of the Coppa Italia final played in May, and I'm expecting something similar. That time Juventus needed extra-time to beat a Milan side who had a terrible season only finishing seventh.
Given their recent form we could expect things to be rather equal, especially if you think that the Rossoneri beat Juventus 1-0 in a controversial game at San Siro earlier this season.
Also, historically Juventus do not feel comfortable playing finals. They have a Champions League record of six finals lost in their European campaigns, and if it is true that they've won their last two Coppa Italia’s they always required at least extra-time, not to mention that they've lost this final to Napoli in 2012.
Talking about Italian Super Cup, Juventus have also won three of the last four but only two of these were in regular time – Napoli were beaten after extra-time in 2012 and Juve lost to the same opposition two years later.
Juve’s slow starts
Juventus have a W2-D3-L1 record in finals – the three draws include three wins in extra-time so you cannot say this is a bad record but given the Bianconeri’s standard, they tend to be much more ruthless in league action.
Still, having in mind that Juventus will probably win this game, I'll be backing a quiet start for this match. Juventus do not like to expose themselves attacking too much, and also Milan have found a more defensive approach in recent times.
Given that, I would not be surprised if this match ends up with a draw in the first-half (5/4 Stan James) – this has happened in the last four matches between these two teams, and in the last two of Juventus' finals.
Juventus v AC Milan – half-time draw (5/4 Stan James)