Italian Cup: Ronaldo penalty snatches Juventus' one-way draw in Milan
MILAN: Cristiano Ronaldo the penalty of injury time was seized Juventus a 1-1 draw at AC Milan in their Italian Cup semifinal, gone on Thursday while continuing his incredible scoring career.
The 35-year-old has scored 12 goals in his last eight games in all competitions after the Portuguese finally defeated the old rival. Zlatan Ibrahimovic despite being largely anonymous for much of the game.
Milan paid Theo Hernandez's 71-minute red card, as they were unable to close a game they had dominated for long periods and led Ante Rebic.
Juve will now be a favorite to finish the job in the second leg at Allianz Stadium next month, with a final against Inter Milan or Napoli at stake.
The hosts started hard, with Ibrahimovic heading to the crossbar in the first minute.
He continued to be a threat to his former club from the beginning, but could only direct an ambitious throwback film beyond the far post, before picking up a reserve that will make him lose the second leg due to the suspension.
Juventus finally produced their first shot in anger nine minutes before half-time, as Juan Cuadrado saw his low strike well saved by Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Milan started the second half as it did with the first, with the front foot, but Rebic was denied an opening goal by Gianluigi Buffon .
Samu Castillejo also called Buffon into action seven minutes after the break, with the 42-year-old goalkeeper able to make a comfortable save.
However, Stefano Pioli's team finally made the breakthrough in the 61st minute, when Rebic threw Castillejo's cross cut to his home in the back post.
Juventus were gifted a way back into the game with 18 minutes remaining as Hernandez was handed a second yellow card for a late challenge on Paulo Dybala .
That led the 13 winners to accumulate some pressure on the home goal, and Donnarumma had to be alert to avoid Matthijs de Ligt's header.
Dybala curled up with five minutes remaining, but Juve was kicked in the last minute of normal time when VAR saw a Davide Calabria handball.
Ronaldo stepped forward and hit the ball in the middle to score his 24th goal of the season.
Six minutes of injury time gave visitors the hope of achieving an improbable victory, but at least Milan held on to a draw to keep their bet for the first Cup crown alive since 2003.
On Wednesday, Napoli hit the first blood in his semifinal when Gennaro Gattuso's men knocked down the leaders of the Serie A Inter Milan 1-0 at San Siro, with Fabian Ruiz scoring the winner.
The last four second matches will take place on March 4 and 5, with the final on May 13 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.