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Coppa Italia Semifinal: Lazio-Milan Preview: The Philosopher’s Stone



Only in Italy would a competition be decided by single elimination in all of the rounds except the semifinal. So this match is the first of two matches which will determine which team moves on to the final. But that’s okay, Gattuso apparently has the Philosopher’s Stone. Only he doesn’t even know what it is. Hopefully one of the players has explained it to him by now. Because while our results have started to turn to gold, these things are best left to alchemists who know what they are doing.

Milan's newest golden boy is also the Coppa capocannoniere

The other Inzaghi has been hit with some kind of curse. There are so many injuries, Lotito reportedly called in a Catholic priest to bless Lazio’s training grounds and dressing rooms. And that was after Lazio were knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla last week. Their last league match a week ago was also a loss, at the hands of Genoa. In the Europa League match, Inzaghi lined up Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Badelj; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Lulic; Calcedo, and Immobile. He will be missing Bastos, Berisha, Luiz Felipe, Lukaku, Lulic, Parolo, and Wallace, all to injury. It’s almost like an alchemist reversed the magic and turned his golden squad to lead.

Other than Gattuso humbly admitting that he didn’t know what the clever reporter was talking about with his Philosopher’s Stone question on Friday, Gattuso’s job really does seem golden right now. I think all of the players except Bonaventura are back in training now, with all but maybe Caldara, Reina, and Zapata available for this match. Even Strinic, who had been out all season after a heart issue, was called up on Friday for the win over Empoli. Milan are winning and playing better football, and newcomers Piatek and Paqueta have been dazzling fans and raising the team’s mentality level. It seems like the team are finally becoming more like the golden Milan teams of years past.

Bless them, father, for they have been cursed

However, this match will be a different kind of test. Playing at the Olimpico is never easy, and we have to prove ourselves worthy of the final both away Tuesday and then again in April at home. If we can capitalize on our momentum in the league, and take advantage of Lazio’s tough injury crisis, then we’ll have the advantage. However, if we slip up in any way, we could lose the advantage and possibly also our momentum in the league. With the big games we have coming up, that could be disastrous. So let’s hope Gattuso has found his inner alchemist and understands what a golden opportunity this is. Otherwise, it’s pointless for him to have the Philosopher’s Stone.


This post inspired by the music of John Williams’ “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” soundtrack


Coppa Italia Semifinal First Leg
Lazio vs. Milan
Tuesday, February 26 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.