Patrick Cutrone’s brace of volleys gave AC Milan a 2-0 extra-time win over Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia Round of 16 on Saturday.
The striker stepped off the bench to settle a tense affair after Rossoneri goalkeeper Pepe Reina had pulled off a string of fine saves to keep Sampdoria at bay.
Having enjoyed the bulk of the chances in the match, La Dea were undone late in the first half of extra-time as Cutrone side-footed beyond Rafael, before doubling his tally with a magnificent lob to put Milan into the quarter-finals.
Milan enjoyed much of the early possession and found themselves camped in Sampdoria’s half, without ever testing Rafael in goal. Samu Castillejo slipped in Franck Kessie and the Ivorian used his physicality to force a corner, but the hosts cleared their lines well.
Castillejo was involved again soon after as he dropped his shoulder and unleashed a dipping effort that was cleverly headed behind by Joachim Anderson.
Despite the early dominance, Sampdoria fought back and had claims for a penalty waived away after some strong pressing. Reina could only parry a low cross and Gianluca Caprari claimed he was shoved by Cristian Zapata as he looked to tap in, but his shouts were swiftly turned down.
The hosts were starting to find their flow and split Milan open with some quick interchange, as the ball was cut back into the box. Alessio Romagnoli threw himself in the way to block Caprari’s strike and remove the danger.
However, Milan almost broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime as Gonzalo Higuain was afforded his first sight of goal. A wonderfully-weighted Kessie through ball sent the Argentine clear in the box, but his low effort across the face of goal trickled the wrong side of the far post.
Sampdoria began brightly after the break and soon forced Reina into action. Ramirez’s mazy dribble into the box culminated in a low deflected cross that was heading in, until the Spanish goalkeeper pounced to push it away.
Ramirez ought to have put the Blucerchiati ahead on the hour mark as he lost his man to meet a corner, only to send his header over from close range.
Yet it was Milan who squandered a golden opportunity with 20 minutes remaining. Castillejo’s deep cross evaded everyone and was met at the back post by Hakan Calhanoglu but, under pressure from Jacopo Sala, the Turkish international couldn’t get a clean connection and his outstretched foot sent the shot wayward from mere yards out.
The Rossoneri had the ball in the net soon after, as Higuain lashed home Cristian Zapata’s header from a corner, but the Argentine was quickly flagged offside.
At the other end, Reina was called into action once more to produce an acrobatic one-handed save from a vicious Albin Ekdal drive, as Sampdoria pushed for a late winner.
Ultimately, neither side was able to find a goal and the match headed into extra-time. It was Sampdoria that looked closest to taking the advantage, as an early corner was not dealt with and Ekdal blazed over from Quagliarella’s lay-off.
Soon after, Reina rescued Milan once more as he charged out to block Riccardo Saponara when clean through, before a fine close-range stop on Quagliarella from the resulting corner.
Against the run of play Milan took the lead however, as substitute Cutrone latched on to a whipped Andrea Conti cross to side-foot beyond Rafael on the volley.
The 21-year-old was not finished and put the result beyond doubt with a sensational lob on the volley from range, as he fired Calhanoglu’s cross-field ball over the head of the out-of-position Rafael.
Milan will face off against the winner of Napoli v Sassuolo for a place in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.