Fortune smiles on Juventus in Coppa Italia duel with Fiorentina

Sports Desk, Mar 2 (EFE).- Coppa Italia holders Juventus took a 1-0 lead over Fiorentina with a 1-0 win in Wednesday’s first leg of the semifinal thanks to an own goal in stoppage time.

The hosts were dominant in the first leg at Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, outshooting the Bianconeri 22-6, but failed to capitalize on their chances.

Besides the high stakes of a cup tie, the contest marked the return to the Franchi of striker Dusan Vlahovic, who left Fiorentina for archrivals Juve in the January transfer window, and the home team supporters whistled and jeered him at every opportunity.

The hostile reception didn’t seem to bother the Serb, who accounted for Juve’s sole shot on target, a strike in the 56th minute that forced an impressive save from Pietro Terracciano.

Aside from a giveaway in the 14th minute to Giacomo Bonnaventura that the Fiorentina man squandered, Juventus keeper Mattia Perin turned in a respectable performance.

Fiorentina sent the ball over the cross-bar on three occasions and their best attacker on the night, Jonathan Ikone, hit the post and fired just wide.

The contest looked set to end 0-0 when a dangerous cross into the area from Juve’s Juan Cuadrado deflected off Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic onto teammate Lorenzo Venuti and then past Terracciano into the net.

Up 1-0 and with the advantage of the away goal, Juventus look well-placed ahead of the April 21 second leg in Turin.

AC Milan and Inter drew 1-1 Tuesday in the first leg of the other semifinal. EFE tfc/dr

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