AC Milan held Lazio to a 0-0 draw in their Coppa Italia semi-final first leg in Rome as the dominant hosts failed to take their chances.
These two sides met at the same stage of the competition last year and history repeated itself as they played out a bore draw, after both legs of their tie last season also finished goalless before the Rossoneri triumphed on penalties.
Lazio dominated the first half but couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities as Patric shot wide before Ciro Immobile spurned a glorious chance when he missed from just inside the box with the goal gaping.
The visitors barely laid a glove on Simone Inzaghi’s team as Francesco Acerbi expertly dealt with an isolated Krzysztof Piatek while at the other end long-range attempts from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Marco Parolo and Lucas Leiva failed to trouble Gianluigi Donnarumma.
After the break, Joaquin Correa danced through on goal but his finish was weak and easily held by Donnarumma, while Immobile was relieved to see a late offside flag go up after his chipped finish came back off the post when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Milan left it until the 88th minute to create their first chance of note as Fabio Borini’s overhead kick fell into the path of Piatek, but he could only head over.
Gennaro Gattuso’s side will welcome the Biancocelesti to the Stadio San Siro for the return leg on 24 April to decide who faces either Atalanta or Fiorentina in the final.
Profligate Lazio can’t make pressure count
What can be done to lift the curse? That’s what Simone Inzaghi may be wondering after watching another 90 minutes of his team knocking on the door without ever being allowed in.
The Aquile were punished for their profligacy as they went out of the Europa League to Sevilla and again failed to capitalise on their chances at the Olimpico as the shots poured in but failed to find the net.
Lazio, on average, are requiring around 12 attempts on goal to score this season and they are finding it much harder than they were last term to find the net, going into this game with 47 goals in 34 games, 32 fewer than they had managed by this stage last season.
Inzaghi desperately needs his big players, particularly Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, Joaquin Correa and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, to find their shooting boots again before their season drifts away.
Milan hold firm… Again
There have been plenty of things for Milan fans to be cheerful about recently; the form of Krzysztof Piatek, an unbeaten run stretching back to the Supercoppa in mid-January and a two-point gap to rivals Inter in the Serie A table to name a few.
However, the form of the Rossoneri defence has arguably been more impressive than anything else. Since that defeat to Juventus in Saudi Arabia, Rino Gattuso’s side have conceded two goals in seven games in all competitions.
Make that eight, as Lazio were the latest side to have problems breaking them down as the capital club dominated but were largely restricted to shots from range as the Milan backline held firm.