Milan saw off SPAL with little difficulty to reach the Coppa Italia quarter-finals as Krzysztof Piatek impressed in their 3-0 win.
Perhaps SPAL are not the most suitable team to use as a barometer of Piatek’s abilities, as they never looked a threat, but the 24-year-old showed good composure to open the scoring, before then teeing up Samu Castillejo for his glorious effort to increase the lead.
Milan continued to dominate after the break and added a third goal just past the hour – Theo Hernandez drilling home in style, sealing a comfortable victory.
SPAL struggled to contend with Milan during the early exchanges, with Ismael Bennacer driving just wide before Castillejo spurned a pair of presentable opportunities.
But Piatek made no mistake in the 20th minute, latching on to Bennacer’s throughball and coolly slotting past the approaching Etrit Berisha.
The lively Castillejo deservedly made it 2-0 just before the break, curling a wonderful left-footed effort into the top-left corner after Piatek spotted him in space in the penalty area.
Hernandez got in on the act in the 66th minute, charging forward in typical fashion before hammering a left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.
SPAL thought they would have the chance to pull one back from the penalty spot after substitute Lucas Paqueta was penalised for blocking the ball with his arm, but following a lengthy VAR review the decision was reversed, preserving Milan’s clean sheet.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) January 15, 2020
What does it mean? Milan sensing a chance for silverware
Given how poorly Milan’s Serie A campaign is going, the Coppa Italia looks their only realistic chance of silverware this term. Only Torino now stand between them and the semis, and by that time they might have built up the form and confidence to challenge Juventus and Inter.
Castillejo takes his chance
It is fair to say Castillejo has not lived up to expectations since his move from Villarreal in 2018, but in this contest he showed flashes of the youngster who became so highly rated in LaLiga. A lively presence out wide, he produced four key passes and a stunning goal.
Bonaventura offers little
Article continues below
Milan were generally impressive, but Giacomo Bonaventura was one of few to have little impact, failing to create a single chance.