MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 08: Caceres (2nd L) of Juventus FC celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the opening goal during the Tim Cup match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on February 8, 2012 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)

Coppa Italia 2012, Semifinals: Juventus, Siena Win First Legs Over Milan, Napoli

AC Milan and Juventus play the first leg of a marquee Coppa Italia semifinal tie on Wednesday. Siena and Napoli kick off the other tie on Thursday.

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Siena Vs. Napoli, 2012 Coppa Italia: Siena Earn Surprise Home Win

Siena shocked heavy favourites Napoli in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal, beating their Champions League opponents 2-1 at the Artemio Franchi to set up an intriguing return fixture at the San Paolo in mid-March. In truth, Napoli should have won the game by a comfortable margin, and they'd have demolished their opponents if not for some combination of poor finishing, poor refereeing, bad luck and astonishingly good goalkeeping by Simeone Farelli.

That it was still 0-0 40 minutes into the match was something of a miracle for Siena, but what followed was even more incredible - Morgan de Sanctis reacted slowly to a long punt forward, and Ferreira Regaldino was able to get there first, rounding the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into the back of the net from close range. Napoli responded instantly, but their best chance of the half ended when Edinson Cavani's shot was saved in spectacular fashion by Farelli.

We had a similar story in the second half - Napoli dominating the match only for Siena to score again, Gaetano D'Agostino sweeping home after Andrea Rossi's second attempt at a cross. From there on out, things went crazy. Napoli blew several more chances, hit the crossbar twice and saw the ball cleared off Farelli's line on multiple instances. They were also denied one stonewall penalty and had another couple of shouts turned down. The Partenopei finally were able to force the ball into the back of the net, when Emanule Pesoli deflected an Ezequiel Lavezzi cross in, but they couldn't recover the game. and are now faced with the prospect of needing a win in the return leg to advance to the final.


AC Milan Vs. Juventus, 2012 Coppa Italia: Old Lady Takes 2-1 Advantage Home

After a scoreless first half that produced just one shot on target -- a brilliant chip by Emmanuele Giaccherini -- things came alive in the second half of the Coppa Italia semifinal, first leg match between AC Milan and Juventus. Uruguayan international Martin Caceres stole the show, scoring a brace in his first start during his second spell at the club. Milan were able to grab one goal, but will be serious underdogs in the second leg after this 2-1 home loss.

The first goal by Caceres was a tap-in, scored on an intelligent run forward towards the back post, where he found a lingering ball to put into the back of the net in the 53rd minute. That goal was quickly answered in the 62nd by Milan youngster Stephan El Shaarawy, who poked in a close-range finish after some horrific defending in the box by Juventus. Both teams had plenty of opportunities to add more goals, but only one more could come.

Cacares' winner was an absolute stunner, placed perfectly into the top corner of the net from 20 yards out. Juventus now have a one goal lead and two away goals for the second leg in Turin, and it would be stunning if they failed to advance to the final.


AC Milan Vs. Juventus, 2012 Coppa Italia: Halftime, Scoreless In Eventful Match

AC Milan and Juventus only managed one shot on goal between them in the first half of their Coppa Italia semifinal, first leg match, but the 45 minute period was much more eventful than that statistic suggests. By the normal standards of these two sides -- especially Milan -- it was a very open and eventful 45 minutes. Both teams' young players who are not regular starters have looked lively, and it would be surprising to see this match stay 0-0.

Emanuele Giaccherni produced not only the only shot on goal, but the best chance and most exciting moment of the match thus far. Late in the half, he played a brilliant chipped shot that looked like it was going to drop in for a goal, but Marco Amelia made a stunning save to top the ball over the bar.

Stephan El Shaarawy has been Milan's most active player, but he's squandered a couple of chances with poor shots. Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf are unsurprisingly controlling things in the middle for their teams, but neither player's strikers have given them too much help thus far.


AC Milan Vs. Juventus, 2012 Coppa Italia: Lineups

AC Milan are without a number of injured players and Juventus has opted to rest stars Claudio Marchisio and Alessandro Matri as expected, but both teams will still field extremely strong sides. Both teams are playing their backup goalkeepers, and the Old Lady probably has a slight advantage with Marco Storari in net. This game will mark the full debuts of new signings Martin Caceres and Simone Padoin, who are making their first starts for Juventus. Here are the lineups.

AC Milan Lineup (4-3-1-2): Marco Amelia; Daniele Bonera, Philippe Mexes, Thiago Silva, Luca Antonini; Urby Emanuelson, Mark Van Bommel, Massimo Ambrosini; Clarence Seedorf; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Stephan El Shaarawy

Juventus Lineup (4-4-2): Marco Storari; Martín Cáceres, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini; Simone Padoin, Andrea Pirlo, Emanuele Giaccherini, Marcelo Estigarribia; Marco Borriello, Alessandro Del Piero

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET, 8:45 p.m. local time from the San Siro in Milan. You can catch the game on ESPN3 in the USA or ESPN in the UK.

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