AC Milan made it to the final of the Coppa Italia in the most dramatic circumstances, beating Lazio on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico.
After 120 minutes of wasted opportunities, including a crucial missed effort from Nikola Kalinic in the second-half of extra-time, the game fittingly went to penalties.
Milan trailed in the shootout until the eighth round, when Luis Felipe laced his effort over the bar, and boyhood Lazio fan Alessio Romagnoli showed the composure required to slot home his spot kick and send the Diavolo to another cup final.
Lazio had the first opportunity of the game in the sixth minute as Gianluigi Donnarumma did well to tip a looping header from Ciro Immobile over the bar following Senad Lulic’s in-swinging cross.
Donnarumma was called into action again moments later, saving comfortably at his near post from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s low shot.
Milinkovic-Savic had another opportunity in the 18th minute as he seized a loose ball 25 yards out, however he failed to bend his effort inside the far post.
Just seconds later, Suso tested Strakosha with a stinging low drive from distance which was parried to Patrick Cutrone, but his rebound hit the post, and he was in an offside position anyway.
Milan had another opportunity just before the half-hour mark as Strakosha came to punch a free-kick but failed to clear; the ball falling to Cutrone who skewed his reaction effort wide.
There was scary moment for Donnarumma as he sprinted out wide to claim a loose ball, but lost it to Immobile – thankfully nobody was on hand to convert his pull-back. He was then forced to make a save on Immobile again after a neat no-look pass from Luis Alberto moments later.
The first half chance of the second-half came seven minutes in when Ricardo Rodriguez let fly with a shot from outside the box, however the Swiss international saw his effort comfortably saved.
Not long later Davide Calabria had a chance to make it two goals in as many game at the Olimpico as he was put through on goal, but Strakosha did well with a reaction save to keep the scores level.
Calhanoglu arguably should have opened the scoring on the hour mark when he was slid through inside the box, but the Turkey international sliced his shot into the side netting.
Milan maintained their approach of defending in numbers and countering with pace, and Cutrone arguably could have done better when he was found on the break in the 67th minute, but Stefan Radu did well to contain him and block the shot from inside the area.
As the game dwindled into extra time, it was Immobile who had the first chance of the additional 30 minutes as he shot straight at Donnarumma from 20 yards.
Calhanglu then tested Strakosha from 35 yards with a deflected free-kick that the Lazio stopper did well to parry for a corner. From the resulting corner, the ball looped in the air towards Romagnoli, who couldn’t direct the ball in from close range despite Lazio’s protests for a foul.
Romagnoli was called into action on the defensive end in the first action of the second-half of extra-time as he made a wonderful last ditch tackle to deny Milinkovic-Savic.
The Rossoneri had one final chance to win the game inside 120 minutes and once again it came through the counter-attack. The ball found Bonucci who had broken up field, and he flicked it through to substitute Nikola Kalinic, who spooned his effort over the bar when through on goal.
And so the game fittingly went to penalties, with Immobile despatching Lazio’s first effort under Donnarumma who guessed the correct way, and Rodriguez missing his first spot kick.
Milinkovic-Savic then saw his attempt palmed away by Milan’s teenage goalkeeper, but Montolivo had his penalty stopped to make it 1-0 to Lazio after two rounds of the shootout.
Donnarumma then produced yet another fine save to deny Lucas Leiva from 12 yards, and Bonaventura finally despatched a spot kick for the visitors to make it 1-1 after three rounds.
Marco Parolo tucked away his penalty with a precise finish into the bottom-left corner, but Borini placed his pen in the exact same place to tie the shootout at 2-2 after four rounds.
Felipe Anderson showed great composure to outwit Donnarumma and nudge Lazio ahead again, but Milan’s captain Bonucci slammed his penalty home to level it once more.
Lulic rolled in Lazio’s six penalty to heap the pressure on the Rossoneri again, yet Calhanoglu equalised with a calm penalty, sending Strakosha the wrong way.
However, the shootout took a twist as Milan gained their first advantage, with Luis Felipe blasting his kick over from the penalty spot. Alessio Romagnoli – the boyhood Lazio fan – was tasked with the winning spot kick. He showed the most composure of any player on the pitch, beating Strakosha to fire Gattuso’s side into the Coppa Italia final.
Romagnoli's penalty 👌🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/WIC13kK9fg
— SempreMilan (@SempreMilanCom) February 28, 2018