IT’S semi-final time in the Coppa Italia. And Mark O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) not expecting any fairytale first leg result on Tuesday night.
Alessandria v Milan | Tuesday 20.00 | Sky Sports 3
“It's one of the most beautiful nights of my sporting life and at a moment like this, I want to remember one of the saddest moments of my life — I want to dedicate this win to a lad I coached who is no longer with us: Piermario Morosini.”
That was Alessandria coach Angelo Gregucci wiping away the tears and speaking after his side's historic 2-1 Coppa Italia win over Spezia to reach the Coppa Italia semi-finals. Morosini died of a heart attack in April 2012 during Livorno's Serie B clash with Pescara. He had played under Gregucci between 2007 and 2009 at Vicenza.
Gregucci’s troops had become the first club from the third tier of Italian football to reach this stage of the Coppa Italia in 33 years thanks to two late goals from Riccardo Bocalon helped to dump second division hosts Spezia out of the competition.
Alessandria, beaten finalists in the second edition of the cup in 1936, now host AC Milan and are desperate to send the Rossoneri packing having already dumped Serie A sides Palermo and Genoa out in earlier rounds.
Due to the size of Alessandria's Stadio Giuseppe Moccagatta base, which holds just 5,827, the Piedmont club have had to move this fixture to Turin and immediately, that takes away their small advantage of playing at home.
The hosts, to be fair, have been flying since November (W9-D4-L1) in all competitions and their weekend win has cemented their place in second of the Italian third tier. But this is by far their biggest test and one they’re unlikely to overcome.
Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic has confirmed he’ll make a few changes but is well aware the cup is their only chance of silverware this season and so will be taking the encounter seriously. The Rossoneri take on city rivals Inter in Sunday’s derby but the Serb has vowed to do all he can to take a first leg lead.
Mihajlovic said, “We are the stronger side, but you don't win matches on paper. We must adopt the right attitude, do our job well just like we have been doing lately.” And the hard disciplinarian is unlikely to allow any of his squad slack off.
The Rossoneri have been a little too inconsistent to mount a Champions League charge this term and sit sixth following their 2-2 draw at Empoli, eight points from the top-three. But performance levels have improved and the 4/6 on offer for an away win here on Monday morning has all been gobbled up.
I still expect Milan to get the job done and with the likes of Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng potentially getting the nod, they should have enough offensive class to score at least twice.
Alessandria v Milan – Milan to score Over 1.5 Goals (3/4 Boylesports)
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