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Coppa Italia Semifinal • Milan-Lazio Preview: For Bakayoko



It is often said that no one cares about the Coppa Italia. However, with Milan and Lazio both in the four or five-way battle for the last Champions League spot, it feels like earning a berth in the Coppa Italia final may be a consolation prize at this point. But then there is the plight of Bakayoko. He discovered the dangers of social media the hard way, then did a really dumb thing, for which he was heavily fined. However, Lazio Ultras have their own twisted sense of justice. After protesting the fact that he was not banned for his actions, they sang racist chants against him on Wednesday during their game against Udinese. Leaking the video out on… you guessed it… social media, they avoided punishment. So they reportedly chanted again on Saturday in their match vs. Chievo. Not only that, but videos are emerging that their “twinned” club, Inter, also chanted racist insults against Bakayoko on Saturday. So consider this an opportunity for a moral victory. Let’s win this one for Bakayoko.

Time for redemption

With Italy’s bizarre rules for the Coppa Italia, the semifinal is the only round that has two legs, and this is the second leg. The first leg at the Olimpico ended in a scoreless draw, so Lazio have the advantage of the opportunity of an away goal in this match. Lazio lost their match with Chievo on Saturday, 2-1, despite having won their game in hand against Udinese 2-0 midweek. For the Chievo match, the Other Inzaghi lined up Strakosha; Patric, Acerbi, Radu; Marusic, Milinkovic-Savic, Badelj, Alberto, Durmisi; Caicedo, and Immobile. Although both Milinkovic-Savic and Luis Alberto were both sent off in that match, they should be available for this match because it is a separate competition. The Other Inzaghi is still missing Lukaku and also likely Berisha to injury.

Gattuso should have everyone but Bonaventura available, yet will still start Borini, obviously. Traditionally, the second keeper plays in the Coppa Italia, so I would expect Reina in net. As for everyone else, I suppose he’ll try to rest a few starters and give some bench players some time, but he is so unpredictable with his changes, I could never guess which ones. It would be nice for Bakayoko to be able to prove himself on the pitch, but it might also be wise to keep him on the bench so as not to antagonize the Lazio Ultras, too. At least by playing this leg at the San Siro, the entire team will have the support of our fans. Security is on high alert for visiting Lazio fans, given the recent tensions.

Please just make him stop

This game seems almost a distraction to our focus of hanging onto fourth place, of which we are only holding on by our head to head record, since Atalanta beat Napoli yesterday and are now tied with us. But if we shift the focus to a form of redemption for the horrific abuse sent Bakayoko’s way when he wasn’t even present, this game still has some meaning. So who cares about the Coppa Italia, I’m looking to a moral victory… for Bakayoko.


This post inspired by the music of She Wants Revenge


Coppa Italia Semifinal Second Leg
Milan vs. Lazio
Wednesday, April 24 • 20:45 CST (2:45pm EDT)
This match can be streamed LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.