Juventus trio Claudio Marchisio, Gonzalo Higuain (centre) and double goalscorer Medhi Benatia (right) celebrate after winning the Italian Cup. (AFP/TIZIANA FABI)

ROME - AFP
Juventus crush AC Milan 4-0 to win fourth consecutive Italian Cup

Juventus crushed AC Milan 4-0 on Wednesday (May 9) at the Stadio Olimpico to win a fourth consecutive Italian Cup.

It was the 13th Cup win for Juventus, who are also poised to become the first Italian team to complete the double for four years in a row.

Massimiliano Allegri's side are one point away from claiming a seventh consecutive Serie A title with two games to play.

"The lads had an extraordinary game and deserved this win, taking nothing away from Milan, who had a good first half," said Allegri.

"Now we have to ensure the Scudetto mathematically and enjoy this extraordinary season."

The Turin giants piled the pressure on their rivals after a balanced first half, Gennaro Gattuso's Milan crumbling under the pressure with two goalkeeping errors from young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and a Nikola Kalinic own goal.

Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgates after 56 minutes for the first of a double on the night for the Moroccan with Douglas Costa also finding the net in the space of nine minutes. Kalinic turned the goal into his own net for the fourth after 76 minutes.

AC Milan - sixth in Serie A - had been hoping for a win which would have guaranteed them a place in the Europa League group phase.

"The result does not reflect the performance, but you pay for errors," said coach Gennaro Gattuso.

"I think it hurts more that we took 40,000 fans here and gave them a result like this.

"Now we have two games against sides who are in better shape than us and must try to get into the Europa League with better performances than this."

The match had been dubbed a duel between Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon who at 40 is set to retire and Donnarumma, 19, his touted replacement in the Italian national team.

But as Buffon kept his net clean Donnarumma finished the night in tears after a game to forget.

Buffon made an early save off Patrick Cutrone minutes into the game with Costa and Paulo Dybala both testing Donnarumma.

But there was controversy before the break when Hakan Calhanoglu was brought down only for the referee to blow the whistle for the break without letting Milan take the free kick.

Gattuso ran onto the pitch to calm down his players.

But after the interval Benatia headed in past Donnarumma off a Miralem Pjanic corner on 56 minutes, for the first goal conceded by Milan in the Italian Cup this season.

Donnarumma then conceded two goals he should have saved - letting Costa through five minutes later and three minutes later failed to control a Mario Mandzukic header from a corner, allowing Benatia to tap in his second off the rebound.

Three goals down, Milan were in disarray with Kalinic heading into his own net off a Pjanic corner on 76 minutes, ending Milan's hopes of a first major trophy since Allegri led them to the Serie A title in 2011.

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